South Yorkshire Futures, Sheffield Hallam University’s regional social mobility programme, has been shortlisted at the UK Social Mobility Awards (SOMO) 2019.

The sector-leading initiative has been shortlisted in the Leadership of the Year category at the national awards ceremony. The awards, which will take place in October, seek to celebrate and recognise organisations that are developing initiatives to promote and improve social mobility.

South Yorkshire Futures has been shortlisted for its work on improving communications and language skills for children in South Yorkshire; the Early Outcomes project.

Early Outcomes is a £1 million project led by South Yorkshire Futures, in partnership with South Yorkshire’s four local authorities and funded by the Department for Education.

The South Yorkshire Future’s team is initially reviewing existing services to see how they currently assess children’s speech and language skills and gather data. They will then oversee the development and implementation of a sustainable regional strategy to meet speech, language and communication needs.

Speech, language and communication skills are a critical element in improving opportunities both in a child’s formative years and in later life. But in South Yorkshire, nearly 5,000 children did not achieve the expected level of development in communications, language and literacy in 2018.

The Early Outcomes project seeks to ensure that a higher proportion of children achieve at least expected levels in communication, language and literacy goals by 2028.

Greg Burke, Director of South Yorkshire Futures, said: “We are proud that our dedication, approach to collaborative working, and regional leadership have been recognised by the SOMO Awards, particularly in the area of early years.

“We believe passionately in giving young people the opportunities to be the best they can be. Being shortlisted for this award celebrates that ambition – but also recognises that we are having real on-the-ground impact.”

Tunde Banjoko OBE, chief executive and founder of the UK Social Mobility Awards, said: “We are delighted to have shortlisted our third cohort of finalists for the UK Social Mobility Awards, having received entries from many fantastic organisations and individuals. While we celebrate the finalists, we are clear that this is a conversation and a movement for everybody.”