Have your say on “Family Hub” plans for Barrow

Westmorland and Furness Council is seeking the views of young people and families in Barrow-in-Furness on the structure of a new “Family Hub”.

The new Family Hub in Barrow will bring advice and support services for families together and will be co-delivered by the council and its partners using funding from the Department for Education (DfE).

The council is proposing that a main Family Hub is based at Barrow-in-Furness public library, with Family Hub outreach centres based in the surrounding areas where the need is greatest. The proposed locations for these are Dalton Community Centre, Ormsgill Community Centre, Walney Library and Bram Family and Wellbeing Centre.

The proposed locations of the main Family Hub and the outreach centres are subject to change as the council explores the viability of each location.

The survey where families and residents can say what they think of the plans is live now and will close on Friday 27 October 2023.

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.

Although there’ll only be a physical Family Hub in Barrow-in-Furness for now, all families in the Westmorland and Furness Council area will be able to access all the services, advice and support they need in one place – either in person or online.

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: “The proposed structure of the Family Hub in Barrow-in-Furness has been developed by working closely with stakeholders but now we’d like to hear from families.

“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, 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.”

The Family Hub in Barrow-in-Furness now has a Facebook page too. To keep up to date with the development of the hub and how you can get involved and access services for families, follow their page.

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.

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