THURROCK Council is one of 75 local authorities taking part in a £301 million scheme to support families in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.
The Family Hubs and Start for Life programme will attract a further £28 million for home learning for three-four year olds as part of a pandemic recovery programme from 2022–2025.
Support for children aged 0-19 years, young adults up to 25 who have special educational needs and/or disability, and services to support parents and carers will be delivered through a family hub network, building on the work of existing children’s centres in the borough.
The scheme will focus on perinatal mental health, parent-infant relationships, infant feeding, parenting support and early language development. Other initiatives will include interactive stay and play sessions for children under five, debt and welfare advice and housing support and domestic abuse support.
At a meeting of the children’s services overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday, Clare Moore, from Thurrock’s children’s services said: “These services will be designed to enhance and expanding a range of existing children’s centres and early help provision. Local authorities must involve parents and carers in development and design of services and look at opportunities to co-locate services including those delivered by the voluntary sector and community groups.
“The programme has a specific focus on the start to life period, from conception to aged two.
“The programme’s objective is about join up and enhancing services delivered through a network of family hubs. It has three principles that underpin the family hub model which is access, ensuring the hub is easily accessible to all, connection, family hubs harness the power of networks to drive progress and relationships focussing on building trust.”
Alex Anderson, Conservative councillor for Stanford East and Corringham Town, welcomed the scheme. He said: “Early thinking is that a main facility family hub would be in each locality, west, east and central. It sounds as though current thinking is we will have three main ones.
“I like the idea of that as a councillor and resident of east Thurrock I’m always keen to see services provided to us over there so if that means us getting one of the main family hubs then great.”