Cornwall has been chosen as a national ‘trailblazer’ to lead the way in offering support to parents, carers, and children through its network of Family Hubs.
There are already 23 Family Hubs spread across its communities and will now receive £4.7m over three years to further improve and develop them.
It is one of 75 Local Authority areas to benefit from the investment from the Government’s Family Hubs and Start for Life grant programme.
Family Hubs are designed to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for families, offering everything from general parenting advice and infant feeding support to antenatal and mental health support.
They will also bring together wider services such as advice on getting into work, relationship building and stop smoking services.
In Cornwall, the money will be used to further improve the Family Hub network, including:
- Development of welcoming and inclusive Family Hub environments with new digital technology and improved space available for professionals to deliver a range of clinics.
- Offer of both online and face-to-face support to help parents develop new skills, confidence and relationships with their babies, children and other families.
- Launch of a new webpage www.cornwall.gov.uk/startforlife to give families all the latest up-to-date information on services and support from pregnancy to age two in one place.
- Investment in peer support programmes and commissioned services.
- Development of infant feeding support services.
- Development of perinatal mental health services.
- Development of services to support learning at home.
- The programme will be supported by the creation of a Parent/Carer Panel in Cornwall, to ensure that the voices of a diverse group of parents, carers, and families are heard.
Ben Davies, Service Director for Children and Family Services at Cornwall Council, said: “We are delighted that the government has recognized the strengths of our Family Hubs, and the work we do with children in the Early Years in Cornwall, by making us a national trailblazer.
“This will help us further improve the services that children and families in Cornwall receive, and also help other areas in the South West and nationally to improve.”
Kate Evan-Hughes, Service Director for Education and Community Health, added: “Our whole approach to helping families in Cornwall is based on Early Help - helping more families earlier, and more effectively. Our Family Hubs are a huge part of that, providing families with easy access, close to where they live, to a wide range of education, health, and social care services so that they get the right support at the right time as their babies and children grow up.
“We have some amazing practitioners working hard to transform children’s lives and this funding will help them continue to do this.”
Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “Anyone with children knows they bring a huge amount of joy but having a family can also be really tough and from time to time all parents and carers need a helping hand.
“Family hubs bring services together helping parents, carers, children, and young people to access the support they need more easily. This can be anything from support with breastfeeding and mental health to guidance on how to give children a head start on their learning.
“It is fantastic that Cornwall has been recognised as leading the way in Early Years help and the Council will use the grant money to ensure Cornwall continues to be a brilliant place to be a child and grow up.”
For more information on Start for Life in Cornwall visit www.cornwall.gov.uk/startforlife Family hub locations are available here.