Agenda item

Family Hubs - National and Local Context


Ms Claire Fry, The Council's Head of Service – Child and Family Development, advised that the report provided Members with an overview of the national and local context of family hubs.  The Council had developed a draft strategy for delivering a network of Family Hubs across the Borough to bring services together in a coordinated way.  The service delivery needed to be flexible.  The draft strategy was currently in the middle of a 12-week consultation which would close on 30 July 2023. 


Family hubs provided families with children aged 0-19 with a single place where they could get information, advice or guidance for a range of issues.  Support could be obtained in the early years of their child's life through the delivery of a specific Start for Life offer which incorporated access to maternity and health services, alongside support for parenting and reducing parent conflict. 


The Uxbridge Family Hub (located in the mezzanine at the Civic Centre) had opened in November 2021 and a second Family Hub was due to open in Hayes in July / August 2023 but neither had received funding support from the Department for Education (DfE).  As it was not in receipt of Government funding, the Council was able to shape the service itself and did not have to abide by the associated timescales.  A framework had been provided by DfE which had been developed to meet local needs whilst retaining the three themes that underpinned the work: access, connection and relationships.  Although the Family Hub provided a universal offer to all parents, the Council had to respond to residents' needs, which varied across the Borough. 


The Uxbridge Family Hub provided a base for the delivery of five Council services including: Uxbridge Children's Centre; the Supervised Contact Service; Multi Agency Psychology Service (MAPS); and the Youth Justice Service.  It also wrapped around services provided by health and community partners such as antenatal and postnatal community midwifery services, infant feeding support and health visiting services.


In terms of how this worked in practice, Ms Fry advised that health visitors were able to refer directly to the midwifery service if they had any concerns about a parent's preparation for the birth of their child or to Children's Centre Support Services.  Being physically co-located was thought to be really helpful (as informal connections could be made) - as was a good understanding of the needs of the population.  There should be no wrong front door and, to this end, in 90% of cases, officers were able to make the initial referral contact for the parent. 


With regard to the number of people from priority groups using the services, the following user information had been recorded in the south west data (which included Cowley and Cherry Lane Children's Centres):

·         3,889 were from low income families

·         2,344 had a child with additional needs

·         2,069 were lone parents

·         1,500 were from workless households

·         1,474 were new arrivals to the UK


It was noted that families might associate with more than one of these categories so the numbers would not reflect unique individuals.  Ms Fry agreed to provide more tailored data in relation to this to the Democratic, Civic and Ceremonial Manager for circulation to Members of the Committee. 


Insofar as the mental wellbeing of children and young people was concerned, Ms Fry stated that the Uxbridge Family Hub could be used as an opportunity to provide a venue for waiting well. 



1.    Ms Fry provide more tailored data in relation to the priority groups using services at the Uxbridge Family Hub to the Democratic, Civic and Ceremonial Manager for circulation to Members of the Committee; and

2.    the report and discussion be noted.

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