Government announces funding for new Family Hubs

The government has announced that new Family Hubs will be set up in 75 local authorities in England to improve access to support, advice and services from birth until adulthood.

The councils, which are mainly in poorer urban areas, are eligible for a share of £302m to create Family Hubs in their areas, which will give parents advice on how to care for their child and ensure they are safe and healthy – providing services including parenting and breastfeeding support.

The new family hubs, which have been championed by government adviser and former cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom, resemble the Sure Start children’s centres that have been slashed by austerity cuts since 2010.

The £302m for the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme includes:

  • £100m for bespoke parent-infant relationship and perinatal mental health support
  • £82m to create a network of Family Hubs, improving access to a wide range of integrated support services for families with children aged 0-19
  • £50m to establish breastfeeding support services
  • £50m to fund evidence-based parenting programmes
  • £10m to support local authorities to publish a clear ‘Start for Life offer’
  • £10m to trial innovative start for life workforce models

two toddler playing letter cubes

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: ‘If we are to level up outcomes for children facing the biggest challenges, this needs to start at home. Being part of a stable, loving family gives a child an early advantage, which is why we are investing so significantly in helping every family to access the vital services that help them and their children thrive.

‘Evidence shows that some of the most disadvantaged families don’t access vital services. Family Hubs offer localised early help and intervention, from early years support to parenting classes, all of which can make a transformative difference in the lives of parents and carers who may not have a support network.

‘We also have a responsibility to protect young people leaving care, to play our role fully as their corporate parent when their birth parents are unable. This funding will provide them with personal support and guidance as they embark on adult life and contribute fully to their own communities.’

Imran Hussain, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Action for Children, said: ‘The announcement to provide greater help for parents with Family Hubs in 75 local authorities around the country is a good start. But the Treasury must back the hubs agenda to reach more families. 

‘Over 1,000 children centres have closed since 2010 and our own research shows 82% of parents with children aged 0-5 have been unable or have struggled to access vital ‘lifeline’ early years support.

‘We urge the government to set out in detail what services Family Hubs will provide, as the need for more parenting support such as baby and toddler groups to help give children the best start in life are needed now more than ever as we emerge from the pandemic.’

Photo by Marisa Howenstine


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