My name is James Lovegrove and I recently joined the Heritage Foundation as a Research and Data Analysis Intern, having previously worked across the Foundation’s venues as a Crew Member for nearly a year.

My primary aim in my new role is to explore and chart the services, provisions and groups available in Letchworth for young families, specifically those with children under the age of five. Whilst this sounds like a niche topic, with around 2200 children under-five in Letchworth, the outcome of this project can have a positive effect on a large number of families and hopefully this research can help to improve the provision of these services across a larger demographic.

This work feeding in to a wider project the Foundation has been working on for a number of months, looking at how we can improve the lives of young families in the town by working with local service providers.

Having been doing the role for a couple of weeks now, it has become apparent that there is a vast array of activities and services for the under-fives’ in and around Letchworth. However, what has become equally as apparent is that there isn’t an easy way of accessing relevant, up-to-date, information. This is the primary objective of my project; to improve information on clubs, groups and services and help to create a single platform which parents and providers can both use with ease.

Part of my research so far has been to develop an understanding of an asset based approach to service mapping (essentially, finding out where people are and what services are on offer). This will be the foundation of the project and will involve using the assets which already exist in Letchworth to try and discover areas where service provision is lacking and to attempt to rectify the situation. To do this I will be engaging with the ‘assets’ - professionals, parents, venues, groups – over the coming weeks, to try and further my understanding of what provisions exist and where it is felt the Heritage Foundation can play a role in helping.

I have tried to keep this initial blog as brief as possible, as my first couple of weeks have been about primarily desk based research. But as the project progresses and begins to encompass the views of the town’s parents, professionals and service providers, I will be writing further blogs to keep everyone updated with my progress – so make sure to keep an eye on this space!