County Durham has been selected to trailblaze a new government scheme which will provide integrated support to children and families.
Durham County Council is one of 75 local authorities to have had its application accepted to be part of the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme.
Today, the government also announced the council is one of 14 applicants to have been chosen as a trailblazer for the scheme, which will see the authority receive additional funding to fast-track the delivery of the new service.
The programme will transform the county’s current One Point family centres into Family Hubs, a one-stop shop providing services to families from pregnancy through a child’s early years until they reach the age of 19.
This includes mental health support, help with breastfeeding, health appointments, life skills such as budgeting, relationship or parenting support, and children’s learning and development, among other services.
It will also integrate social and early help services to provide additional support to children, young people and families as soon as problems start to emerge or to prevent the risk that problems will emerge in the future.
Cllr Ted Henderson, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “We are thrilled to have been selected as a trailblazer for the Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme, allowing us to demonstrate how we can integrate our services to give the best support we possibly can for parents and children across the county.
“The Family Hubs will help us to work more closely with children and families to ensure support is delivered in line with what is most valuable to them.”
As part of the trailblazer scheme, last month Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan visited the council’s Woodhouse Close Family Centre at Bishop Auckland, which will be one of the first centres to be developed into a Family Hub.
She met with families at the centre and spoke to early help and social workers about their experiences and how they make a difference for the county’s children and young people.
And this morning, the Department for Education issued a video on Twitter featuring the council’s director for children and young people’s services, John Pearce, and strategic manager for One Point services, Karen Davison, talking about support for families already delivered by the council and how this will be carried into the Family Hubs.
The video can be viewed at www.twitter.com/educationgovuk/status/1623611420586770432