A lifeline of 15 extra hours in nursery

Currently, children trapped in poverty are locked out of 30 hours of Government-funded early education – as evidenced by the Sutton Trust report ‘A Fair Start?’ in August 2021.

In October 2020, we offered a lifeline of 15 extra hours in nursery and a daily hot meal to some of our most vulnerable children. We called this Doubling Down.

Play video

Watch our video to find out about the impact of this programme

Funding 15 extra hours for children trapped in poverty

Funding 15 extra hours for children trapped in poverty

Results of the programme

LEYF started the programme in response to witnessing children arriving at nursery ‘hungry, anxious and developmentally delayed’, as a result of living in poverty and exacerbated by COVID-19 lockdowns.

The additional hours resulted in significant progress in children’s learning and development, across both personal, social and emotional development (PSED), and their communication and language skills.

Doubling Down also helped struggling families stay afloat, by giving them a break from caring responsibilities and even the chance to take on a part-time job, with a positive effect on parents’ mental health.

Read our report to find out more about the impact of Doubling Down on the Government entitlements.

Download the report

“I was absolutely overwhelmed to get this offer … I can’t thank them enough, whoever’s done this for me.”
Parent on the Doubling Down Programme

What is LEYF calling for?

Our report adds to the growing body of evidence calling for expanded access to 30 hours of funded Early Years education and care to ALL children.

We are calling on both the Government and global investors to provide £165m of urgent funding to bridge the initial shortfall and widen access to the current 30 hours offer.

Without this, progress in closing attainment gaps between disadvantaged children and their peers will diminish, with potentially devastating consequences for the 1.3 million children aged under 5 who live in poverty in the UK.

“Before the extra hours in nursery, she was completely non-verbal. Now her confidence is amazing and she speaks her mind.”

Partner with us

We are so grateful to Barclays and Permira Foundation for their generous support in funding the programme, and to all those who have donated to our fundraising campaigns to help us continue to offer extra hours at nursery to our most vulnerable children.

We know that there are even more children who could benefit from being part of the Doubling Down programme. To help us make this possible and to improve opportunities and life chances for the children excluded from the Government’s 30-hour offer, please get in touch with our partnership manager to explore how you can help make a difference.

Explore a partnership with us


Unlocking Futures

The programme had a significant impact on children and their families

  • 90%

    improvement in behaviour

    90% of staff saw improvement in children's behaviour.

  • 70%

    improvement in communication and social development

    Over 70% of parents and staff saw a positive impact on their child’s communication skills and social development.

  • 77%

    improvement in mood

    77% of nursery staff felt children were happier and 77% of parents saw improvement in their child's mood.

Play video

Here, Sandra, from our Wandsworth Bridge Nursery, shares how the Doubling Down programme and the ability to spend longer at nursery improved speech and language communication skills in the children who benefited from the programme.

Play video

Here, Greg, from our Soho Nursery, shares how the Doubling Down programme is able to support children’s well-being by giving them extra time in the nursery setting.

Play video

Here, Alethea, from our Burgess Park Nursery, shares how the Doubling Down programme impacted children, parents and also teachers in a positive way.

Nursery teacher and child do a high five in the playground

Social impact

High quality Early Years education and care makes a significant difference to children’s educational success and future attainment.

Staff and child playing with a provocation


LEYF works with long-standing, valued partners who support us to maximise our social impact.

Nursery teacher reading with children

Support LEYF

We're fundraising for our Doubling Down programme. Find out more about how you can help.