Schools Minister, Damian Hinds visited the Loftus Family Hub in Redcar (Monday, January 8) to celebrate the government’s £300 million investment into the family hub approach and the launch of the Little Moments Together campaign.

During his visit, the Schools Minister heard all about the local services on offer to families at the Loftus Family Hub, and was impressed by the facilities.

The government is investing £300 million to embed the family hub approach and enhance Start for Life services in 75 local authorities across the country for families with children aged 0-19 and 0-25 months and for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The approach will bring together support from parent-infant relationship classes and mental health support for parents and carers, as well as programmes that help parents improve their child’s development at home.

Family Hubs allow parent and children to streamline the services they use and access the help available to them all in one place.

The Northern Echo: On his visit the Schools Minister heard all about the local services on offer to families

Schools Minister Damian Hinds said: “This visit has really shown the value of having a place where different services can come in, if you are a new mum and have four different things on your mind the beauty of the system with the hub is that with a family navigator there is someone to identify what is going to be right for you, and in many cases those things will physically be at the centre.”

“The family hub can help with things directly to do with baby or child or other situations, it might be about getting help with stopping smoking.”

The Family hubs also work alongside the government’s Supporting Families programme, which aims to build the resilience of vulnerable families to promote strong local services which can provide support.

Since 2015, over 470,000 vulnerable families have received direct support through Supporting Families.

Early Help and Service Manager at Redcar and Cleveland Family Hubs, Nicola Hall said: It’s been great to have this interest in the Family Hub and it’s been fantastic to have this injection of funding.

“From feeding support to perinatal health support, stay and play sessions for families to work with our teams and get support with parenting, because of the funding we are able to offer so much more.

“We have nine family hubs across the borough and six are open Monday to Friday so families can drop in any day of the week if they want some support and can find someone friendly who can offer them that.”

Executive Director for Children and Families in Redcar and Cleveland, Kathryn Bouton said: “Prior to the injection of funding we made the best start in life on of our priorities as an area and health and wellbeing board so it’s coming together really well.

“It’s been really good to have the minister here to see the good work that goes on, and it was really nice to have the interest. The staff have done a great job of facilitating the visit too.”

The Northern Echo: The government is investing £300 million to embed the family hub approach

When asked about the similarity between Family Hubs and Sure Start Centres Damian Hind said: “There is a lot of commonalities, what family hubs do is they extend in two ways, there is a wider age range of children as well as the service breadth, parents are more likely to come for debt advice or alcohol and drugs support services.”

“In many cases the centres are a development of the same physical places that were used as Sure Start Centres, and they have developed and broadened to Family Hubs.”

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This milestone comes as the government launches the new national Little Moments Together campaign, which will provide free resources and advice to help parents make the most of smaller moments with their children. 

Research uncovered that everyday moments between parents and children are often overlooked, with only 14% of parents recognising a trip to the supermarket with their child can be a great development opportunity, and less than 7% realising that time spent together whilst on public transport is an ideal moment to engage in learning activities.

For more information of the Little Moments Together campaign visit the website here

Redcar and Cleveland Family Hubs are also launching a Dads group at Redcar Coast Family Hub, Grangetown Family Hub and Guisborough Family Hub. For more information visit their website here.