Best Beginnings CEO and Founder Alison Baum has been awarded an OBE for her services to tackling child health inequalities in the New Year honours list.

Alison's Story

Following the birth of Alison’s two sons, both born with significant health problems, and the death of her uncle Professor David Baum, formerly President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Alison has devoted herself to radically improving the health of young children across the UK. Best Beginnings, which was registered as a charity in 2007, focuses on the ‘window of opportunity’ between pre-conception and a child’s third birthday.

Child Health Inequalities in the UK

Currently, there are many factors which contribute to making child health a postcode lottery. For example, babies from socially deprived areas and babies of Black and Asian ethnicity are over 50% more likely to be stillborn or die shortly after birth and babies born in Bradford 4 times more likely than babies born in Bath.

The Resources

Best Beginnings embraces the power of film, inspired by Alison’s previous career as a science documentary film-maker at the BBC, and technology to drive positive change.  In its first 10 years, Best Beginnings has reached over 2 million families across the country through their resources which include their multi-award winning app, Baby Buddy. The charity’s resources are designed to inform and empower parents of all backgrounds to look after their own mental and physical health and maximise their children’s development.  All of Best Beginnings’ evidence-based resources have been created with active input from parents, healthcare professionals and many royal colleges.


Alison is passionate about the power of collaboration to drive societal change. She has sat on many committees including the National Maternity Review and is currently on the stakeholder group for the Maternity Transformation Programme, led by Baroness Cumberlege. Through her work, Alison has been awarded the Sheila McKechnie Foundation award for Health and Social Campaigner of the Year (2007), as well as the CPHVA Campaigner of the Year (2014), and Woman of Democracy (2014).


So many people work tirelessly to make a difference and very few of us are lucky enough to have our work recognised in the New Year’s Honours. So much has happened over the last ten years, it is wonderful to be working so closely with so many organisations including the Royal Foundation. To start our tenth anniversary celebrations with this Honour is simply the best beginning to 2017 that I could possibly have imagined!  

I’m proud to be able to shine a bright light on the work of the charity I founded ten years ago and to encourage many more people to join the Best Beginnings’ family and help us give every child in the UK the best start in life.

I believe my OBE belongs to everyone who has contributed over the last ten years. It really is about the power of collaboration. Together we can tackle child health inequalities and make a difference for future generations.

How you can get involved

Alison would like to encourage many more people to help give every child in the UK the best start in life by joining SpringBoard, our regular giving programme. Best Beginnings is working with the Royal Foundation as part of the Heads Together campaign which has been selected as the 2017 Virgin Money London Charity of the Year. The Heads Together campaign is working to reduce the stigma around mental health and Best Beginnings is representing maternal mental health issues which affect a staggering 2 in 10 women during pregnancy and the year after birth. Best Beginnings will also be launching their maternal mental health resources for parents and professionals, and striving to reach even more families through our tenth year and beyond.