Hundreds of families across Wolverhampton will be offered help and support with issues such as infant feeding, mental health and relationship building thanks to a network of Family Hubs being rolled out in local communities.
The city is one of 75 areas in England to benefit from a share of investment totalling £300 million to create 8 new Family Hubs in the city offering support from conception through to age 19, or up to 25 for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND).
The City of Wolverhampton Council has pioneered the use of Strengthening Families Hubs over the last few years, providing multi agency support to young families.
Now, the council has been successful in its bid to join the national Family Hubs and Start for Life programme, enabling it to expand the work of the hubs and help even more people.
The new Family Hubs will act as ‘one stop shops’, offering guidance and advice on a range of circumstances including infant feeding, mental health support, health visits and parenting classes.
The hubs will also bring together wider wraparound services that can make a huge difference to people who need extra support – such as advice on getting into work, relationship building and stop smoking services.
Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Strong, supportive families make for more stable communities and happier individuals. All families need support from time to time to help their babies and children thrive, whether that’s from friends, family, volunteers or practitioners.
“Our ambition is for every family to receive the support they need, when they need it. All families should have access to the information and tools they need to care for and interact positively with their babies and children, and to look after their own wellbeing, too.
“Our Strengthening Families Hubs have been a great success and have helped many families since they were introduced, by putting care and support in the heart of our communities.
“We are now taking that a step further. But, rather than creating new services, the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme will enable us to deliver services differently, implementing new ways of working, developing the skills of the workforce, enhancing integrated, multi agency arrangements and making better use of buildings.
“And by providing a stronger, more accessible universal and early help offer in our communities, there will be long term benefits in terms of reduced demand for more intensive support services further down the line.”
She added: “We are very proud of our work to put families at the heart of all we do, and this is a great chance for the council and its partners to go even further for our children and families.”
Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, said: “Family Hubs make a positive difference to parents, carers and children by providing a single access point to services that can help them during challenging periods.
“We know how important early intervention is in improving physical, mental and emotional health outcomes for young people, and in helping to build a strong foundation for them to prosper in later life.
“We are proud to lead the National Centre for Family Hubs, which provides a national platform for the implementation of family hubs in local areas, and to be able to extend support to more areas across the country.”
The Family Hubs will be created in Wolverhampton’s 8 existing Strengthening Families Hubs.