£20m for multi-service 'Family Hubs' in 10 new local government areas

The Government is investing £20 million into its Family Hubs programme, which will support councils to set up new Family Hubs in 10 areas, improving access to early education, health and care services.

Family Hubs are designed to offer families, children and young people somewhere to access a range of support services, which can include early education and childcare, mental health support, meetings with health visitors or attending parenting classes, counselling or advice for victims of domestic abuse.

The hubs – delivered in person and supported virtually via online services – help families, children and young people more easily access the help they need, regardless of where in the country they live.

They bring services together into one place, preventing parents and carers from having to search for different types of support that might otherwise be too hard to find, especially for those on lower incomes, helping build connections between families, professionals and voluntary services.

Dr Camilla Rosan, Head of Early Years and Prevention at the Anna Freud Centre"This additional funding is an opportunity to expand the Family Hub offer across local areas so that more families can access high quality support as soon as they need it," said Dr Camilla Rosan, Head of Early Years and Prevention at the Anna Freud Centre, which leads on the newly founded National Centre for Family Hubs. "The evidence is clear that early help is what makes the most difference to the wellbeing of children and their families, and Family Hubs will sit at the heart of communities providing this support."

The £20 million of new funding has been awarded from the Treasury’s Shared Outcomes Fund, and will include:

  • £10 million for the Family Hubs ‘Transformation Fund’, which will support local authorities to open family hubs in approximately 10 new areas of England. Family Hubs are already operating in several areas of England, providing vital support services to vulnerable families; and
  • £10 million to expand the ‘Growing Up Well’ digital project, designed to level up outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged families. This involves improving how information is shared between professionals working with families and children in these Hubs.

This builds on the Government’s commitment to champion Family Hubs so that they help provide families, including those who are more vulnerable, with intensive support for their children, not just in the early years but throughout their lives.

The Government has already invested £14 million to deliver on this commitment, including the introduction of a national centre for family hubs earlier this year, led by the Anna Freud Centre to scale-up the number of Family Hubs and spread best practice on what works well to Hub providers across England.

Many councils have already started to open Family Hubs, benefitting families across the country. They often operate an ‘open door’ approach, with families able to have better access to vital services and receive support from a range of professionals, including midwives, health visitors, GPs, schools or social services.

Today’s investment follows publication of the Best Start for Life: A Vision for the 1,001 Critical Days, led by the Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom and published by the Department for Health and Social Care in March 2021, which identified six action areas which will help to have a transformational impact for babies and their families.

One action area was to championing Family Hubs as a place where parents and carers can access Start for Life services. So the National Centre for Family Hubs will make sure councils understand how best to build a Family Hub network and to take steps at a national and local level to reduce the stigma some parents or carers experience when asking for help.

The Department for Education also recently launched a second round of recruitment for three more local area partners for the Family Hubs-Growing Up Well project.

Three additional local councils primarily based in disadvantaged areas will be recruited as part of the project to help develop data and digital products to support the practical implementation of Family Hubs. This will involve working with the Department to provide local insights to help develop digital solutions that reflect their community’s local needs.

The project aims to improve how professionals collaborate and plan for families, with a particular focus on improving how information is shared and improving access and navigation of services for families and builds on work already being carried out by both Bristol City Council and Lancashire County Council who were recruited in the first round of the project.

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