Three Family Hubs launched in Bristol are a new ‘one-stop-shop’ offering a wide range of information and support to all families, from conception through to age 19, or up to 25 for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Bristol is one of 75 local authorities selected by the UK Government to receive £4.8 million in funding to set up the new Hubs, which are located in Hartcliffe Children’s Centre and Nursery, Southmead Children’s Centre, and Wellspring Settlement (East Central).
Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Equalities said the new Hubs support the overarching aim of the city’s Belonging Strategy, and that everyone in Bristol will have the best start in life, receiving the information, support and skills they need to flourish into adulthood.
She said: “The new Hubs underline our ambition to support all children, families, and young people to thrive. We know the first two years of a child’s life are critical in terms of life outcomes, which is why at the heart of each Hub is the new Start for Life offer, which focuses on the first 1,001 days of a child’s life.
“Future investment in this programme means that services will be transformed, and the offer will expand over time to include a physical, outreach offer, a strong community-based youth offer and a website as part of the new Family Hub network.”
The new Hubs mean information and help on anything family related, including community activities, help with baby feeding, emotional wellbeing, physical and mental health, early years and education, parenting support, housing and debt advice, youth activities and domestic abuse support, as well as services run by charities, are all in one place and easy to access.
A partnership of Bristol City Council, UK Government, Community Children’s Health Partnership, the NHS in Bristol and Healthier Together and a range of voluntary and community organisations, the new Hubs will also include 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.
Bristol has also recently been recognised by UNICEF UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative and awarded the prestigious Baby Friendly Award. This award reflects Bristol’s ongoing commitment to increasing breastfeeding rates and improving care for all mothers. Bristol has higher-than-average breastfeeding rates at 6-8 weeks (70.9 per cent vs. 54.4 per cent nationally).
Rosi Shepherd, Chief Nursing Officer for the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board, said: “The first few years of childhood are vital in setting people on the right path for life. We really welcome the development of the Family Hubs which will be a great asset for local communities.”
The Family Hub and Start for Life Parent Carer Panel (PCP) has been formed to ensure that parents and carers voices can influence how services and support are delivered in Bristol via the new Hubs.
Parent Carer Panel Coordinator, Melanie Monaghan, said: “It's been rewarding to be part of something that will help make a positive difference to the way people access family support, as well as helping to shape services to ensure that they work for everyone.”
Find out more about Family Hubs and the Start for Life offer here: www.bristol.gov.uk/familyhubs