Why Uplift?

Uplift (Devon) CIC was set up as a community Hub open to families with young children so that they can meet, read and play in a friendly, fun space. We welcome all families and can provide free books, toys and materials for play.

The Sutton Trust reports that more than half of the gaps in achievement of children at age 11 are due to inequality that was already present at the age five and these gaps are never made up. In other words, the lifetime chances of children are largely established before the age 5. To tackle inequality, education of the young is profoundly important to level up the playing field. In recent years Sure-Start Centres, which were created to help address this problem, have been closing around the country. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected early years learning, especially in the least advantaged communities.

Uplift Mission:

  • To improve the lives and life chances of children under the age of five within their families
  • To develop support structures and develop high-quality, evidence-based early childhood services for families, their children and communities.


How we aim to do this:

  • We have established Hubs in three towns in Mid/East Devon from which we run Uplift activities. Each centre acts as an informal community Hub for all families with young children to meet and interact.
  • Each Hub has a Manager, experienced in early years childcare, whose task it is to make wide contact and integrate Uplift within the community. We listen and then react in response to local priorities in order to achieve the core Uplift mission goals.
  • Each Manager communicates and collaborates with other charitable and statutory bodies so that families can be directed towards appropriate local help and support.
  • Our Managers, Heidi, Jo and Daisy co-ordinate activities and the work of volunteers in the centres.
  • A baby bank and provision for parents to weigh their babies are core activities at each centre.
  • A wide variety of workshops and activities are organised according to local needs and priorities in order to engage children within their families and promote learning.   

Uplift during Covid

  • We have carried out live reading and interactive events on Facebook.
  • We have had to adapt the Uplift model in the light of the Covid pandemic.
  • We have provided nearly 300 baby bank bundles to young families needing assistance.
  • We have built on our relationships with other community groups to support vulnerable families and continue to build on collaborations. Free hot food “on the Go” has been served from our premises in Tiverton during the pandemic in association with Tiverton Town Council and CHAT.

Meet The Team

Anthony is Director of Common Players Community Theatre company and Dramatic Improvement, a training company.
He lives in Bradninch and believes in the work that Uplift wants to do for individuals and communities in the area.
JohnChairman and Founding Director
John is an Orthopaedic surgeon who works in Devon. John recognised the value of the 1998 Sure Start initiative that aimed to give children the best possible start in life through improvement in childcare, early education, health and family support. The first three years of a child’s life have been proven to be absolutely critical in determining the life-chances of that child. Unfortunately, successive cuts in general funding from central government to local authorities in England has led to closure of many of these centres and the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children, which can only be tackled in the early years, is rising. John founded Uplift as a project open to all families in the local area with the aim of contributing to positive experiences, promoting fun and improving the lives of the under fives and their families.
MaryDevelopment Consultant
“Hello, I’m Mary and I am very excited to have just been given the role of Development Consultant with Uplift Devon.

I am an Early Years teacher and parent coach, with over 25 years’ experience working within the Early Years world of Devon; running a community preschool, advising both private and voluntary organisations, working within the SENDCo and safeguarding arenas.

My passion is to help adults better understand children and why they do what they do, so secure relationships are built, and from these growth and learning. Both for the children and adults! I have worked with parents, teachers and leadership teams to introduce new ideas and help embed them in practice.”

DaisyManager of Uplift Ottery St Mary
“Hi I’m Daisy! I’m an Early Years Teacher and I’ve been working with children for 10 years in various early years settings. I had my own baby in March 2020 and have since gained a greater understanding of the importance between the bond babies and young children have with their carers and the need for more accessible support in the close community for new families. I’m keen to ensure every child in my area has the support they need, in whichever way that may be and therefore am excited to be working with Uplift Ottery to develop this.
I can’t wait to start meeting the local community and supporting families in any way I can.”
JoManager of Uplift Tiverton
“Hi I am Jo, an ex Retail Manager, who is now a stay at home mother of 2 young children. I have alot of training behind me, some include, childcare, security, covid safety, safegaurding, first aid and an understanding of autism. I have a pride of Devon award for community contribution thanks to the people of Tiverton voting for me.

I run Active Parents Tiverton aswell as volenteering at Uplift Tiverton to support local families to access the many great services available in our Town.

Here at the Tiverton branch we now run a baby weigh session every Friday, occasional excess stock sales and events throughout the year. We welcome families to come in and swap books at anytime to keep the love of reading as exciting as possible. We have a cafe type area, a reading snug and a baby change/weigh/feed room available, all ready to welcome you once restrictions lift.

Hopefully it won’t be long as we look forward to seeing you at uplift (the den).”