A new “Family Hub” in Barrow will bring advice and support services for families under one roof the council has announced.
The Westmorland and Furness Family Hub, which will be co-delivered by the council and its partners using £500k of funding from the Department for Education (DfE), will make sure all families in the Westmorland and Furness Council area can access all the services, advice and support they need in one place – either in person or online.
The aim of the Family Hub is to co-locate various services from the council and partners in one place, subsequently improving the sharing of data between services and ensuring families only need to tell their story once.
Families will also be given the opportunity to speak face to face with trained staff, in a safe, non-stigmatising space.
The council says there’s some time to go before the hub is operational but hopes to have it up and running by early next year.
Cllr Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Education and Skills with Westmorland and Furness Council, said: “This is just the start of our Family Hub journey, and over the coming weeks and months, families, residents, and other stakeholders will have a chance to have their say about how to make our Family Hub deliver real change for the children and families of Westmorland and Furness.
“Although the hub itself will be based primarily in Barrow, this will improve our offer for families across the Westmorland and Furness area through joined-up working, co-locating services and improving how families access our services online.
“By March 2024, we aim to offer a community based, safe, welcoming, inclusive, and friendly family hub network, catering for families, children and young people aged 0–19, and up to the age of 25 for young people with Special Educational Needs and disabilities.”
Milorad Vasic, the newly-appointed Director of Children’s Services at Westmorland and Furness Council, said: “We want every family in Westmorland and Furness to be able to benefit from the range of services our Family Hub will offer, so that all those who need support can find it.
“To help give children and young people the best possible start in life, our Family Hub will offer a range of services based upon local community needs - making it easier for them to access support.
“This new way of working will help improve the current and future health and wellbeing of children and young people, help reduce health inequalities, respond to local need, and provide universal and targeted support as required.
“We’ll provide updates as we move forward about how all residents and other stakeholders can get involved and help us shape our Family Hub into something that works for all our communities.”
In November 2021, the Department for Education launched a £12 million Family Hubs Transformation Fund to support local authorities in England to open family hubs, and Westmorland and Furness Council is one of the few councils chosen to receive funding from the pot.