Step change in support through Family Hubs implementation
2nd November 2021 | By: Lucy Gardner
Today, the National Centre for Family Hubs (NCFH), led by the Anna Freud Centre, held its first national ‘Implementing Family Hubs’ event.
The event took place against the backdrop of the Autumn Budget statement last week, in which the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the additional commitment of £500 million for family support, including £82 million to be given to 75 further local authorities to set up new Family Hubs.
At the heart of today’s event was a focus on evidence-based work currently being led by local practitioners and informed by the lived experiences of families themselves. Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, said: “Fantastic practice already exists up and down the country. At the National Centre for Family Hubs, we are passionate about learning from this and sharing it. Today’s event has been about continuing to listen and learn, so that together we can ensure the most effective implementation of Family Hubs across England, supporting young people into early adulthood. This considerable step change in support is the vision for Family Hubs moving forwards.”
The event was opened with a keynote speech by Will Quince MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Children and Families) at the Department for Education, who launched the £12 million Transformation Fund, confirming it is now open for local authority bids. He said: “Family Hubs offer an open door to families who need support from a broad range of services – from pregnancy through to parents with older children who might struggle at school or with their mental health.”
Minister Quince continued: “Councils that are interested in opening Family Hubs for their community can now apply as part of our £12 million Transformation Fund, helping to increase access to high quality services that will support the next generation throughout their lives. Our ambition for Family Hubs is for these to be a central point of contact for families, easing the burden of having to find the help they need or repeat themselves to different people, and to deliver this we recently announced £82 million to support 75 areas to create a network of Family Hubs.”
Speakers also included Dame Andrea Leadsom MP, who welcomed this initiative in her role as Chair of the Government’s Start For Life Unit. Also contributing were colleagues representing a number of local authorities which have contributed to the development of the toolkit, as well as project partners including the Early Intervention Foundation and Ecorys UK. Examples of good practice shone an important light on what is achievable through Family Hubs, and the part which multi-agency working and co-production plays within this.
Nasreen Siddique, Youth Participation Worker at the National Centre for Family Hubs, spoke at the event. She commented: “When services work more closely in a joined-up way, children and young people benefit. For a young person accessing mental health services for the first time, it can be challenging to build relationships with mental health and other professionals. But strong relationships are key. Having to tell our story again and again, as we move across services, can be particularly tough. These are several significant ways in which Family Hubs can make a difference.”
Attended by over 500 stakeholders working in a range of sectors across England, today’s event launched the pilot of the Implementation Toolkit. This new resource is a collection of co-produced modules aimed at supporting local authorities, health, education and other providers to implement Family Hubs within their local area. Participants heard from a range of leaders, experts and practitioners – including parents and young people – about their work on the toolkit. Feedback was sought on further development of this key resource and how to enable its effective use within Family Hubs locally.
The National Centre for Family Hubs is a major national initiative led by the Anna Freud Centre and funded by the Department for Education to support the scale up of Family Hubs across England. Family Hubs aim to ensure that all families have access to the same high quality services and supportive relationships within their local area. Family Hubs will be designed to provide family help early, when they need it – from pregnancy, through the child's youngest years and later childhood, and into adolescence until they reach the age of 19 (or up to 25 for young people with special educational needs and disabilities). They will provide an open door to families, offering a one-stop shop for accessing vital services.
To find out more about the work of the National Centre for Family Hubs, and to get involved, please go to: www.nationalcentreforfamilyhubs.org.uk. The Implementation Toolkit and other new resources published today are also available here.
Learn more about the Department for Education Transformation Fund.