Family Hubs Network’s response to the CSJ’s ‘Two Nations’ report

Posted 14th December 2023

In 2006, CSJ’s landmark report ‘Breakdown Britain’ identified five key drivers of poverty and disadvantage in the UK: 

  • Family breakdown 
  • Addiction 
  • Worklessness 
  • Serious personal debt 
  • Educational failure  

The ‘Two Nations’ report has re-visited these areas and provides us with in-depth analysis of what life is really like in today’s most disadvantaged communities. 

Some of the statistics are a very sombre read, and there is a clear correlation of things having worsened dramatically for those in already challenging circumstances as a result of the Covid lockdowns.  For example, during lockdown the report (see P.11 of ‘Two Nations’ PDF) highlights that:

  • Calls to a domestic abuse helpline rose 700% 
  • Mental ill-health in young people increased from one in nine to one in six, with nearly a quarter amongst the oldest children  
  • Severe school absence jumped by 134% 
  • 1.2 million more people went on working-age benefits 
  • 86% more people sought help for addictions 
  • Prisoners were locked up for more than 22 hours a day 
  • A household became homeless every 3 minutes. 
A community outreach manager who took part in a Two Nations Big Listen event

But there is always hope, and Family Hubs will play a crucial part in providing the solutions to many of the issues our broken society is facing. In response to findings of ‘Breakdown Britain’, in 2007 CSJ published their solutions report, ‘Breakthrough Britain’, in which the concept of Family Hubs was first introduced, and which was eventually adopted as government policy in 2020. Now, over half of England’s upper tier local authorities are receiving funding to create local Family Hub networks, joining-up services and support cross-sector, so that families get access to the right help at the right time. Government funded evaluation studies across 12 local authorities will build the evidence base and inform further development of this model.  

Families are facing greater pressures than ever, with huge increases in mental health issues in both children and adults since the pandemic. Challenges are pressing in on every side, such as the cost of living crisis, worklessness, crime, addictions, poor housing, family breakdown and more people than ever inactive due to long-term sickness. 

The Family Hubs Network will engage with the Centre for Social Justice ahead of the publication of the manifesto of solutions they will publish next year, to share how we and other frontline partners think Family Hubs should be developed in the next stage.   

With the right momentum and backing Family Hubs have the potential to provide the vital hope, support and strengthening that families, especially the most disadvantaged, need. Family Hubs have been in place for over half a decade in some areas and have established a strong track record, delivering many examples of positive outcomes and good practice, and together with the new evaluations, can inspire and inform further development of this transformative approach.

Charity leaders at Trevi Women (see P.167 of ‘Two Nations’ PDF)
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