Family Hubs are now government policy and several different departments are exploring how the family support they provide can tackle issues they are responsible for, such as reducing parental conflict and ensuring all children get the best start in life. The Department for Education has made specific funds available to local authorities, for example for data-focused projects, which can enhance or help initiate the development of a family hub model in a local area.
Typically, rather than a costly outlay on new infrastructure, a Family Hub model makes use of existing facilities wherever possible and extends and adapts buildings where necessary. Sometimes opening a Family Hub involves rationalising existing provision and realising financial savings, and that is often part of the purpose in shifting to the Hub model for family support in a local area.
However sometimes there is a need for capital investment, and it is always important to ensure ongoing sustainability. There is no one source of funding for the start up and running costs of those Family Hubs which currently exist. In the tiles below we present a range of funding streams local authorities and other lead partners have accessed in order to open and maintain Family Hubs, and will add to these as we learn more from the Network.
Supporting Families Programme
(Formerly Troubled Families Programme)
Many local authorities use Supporting Families money to help families meeting one or more (SF) criteria for both targeted support and intensive early help. Leeds and Westminster City Councils used their ‘earned autonomy’ from the Supporting Families criteria to re-purpose children’s centres and other buildings.
The Isle of Wight combined existing Early Help funding streams with other sources to retain their children’s centres and re-purpose them to be Family Hubs. Manchester used Early Help money that was released under the terms of devolution.
Restructuring for Efficiency
Bexley reduced costs by reorganising children’s centres, rationalising ‘back office’ staff roles, and redesigning their Thriving Families programme (as ‘Troubled Families’ is known locally). Chelmsford co-located staff and reduced IT overheads to cover refurbishment works and make overall savings.
Barking and Dagenham and Newcastle city received money from the local authority Public Health budget, after providing clear evidence of the public health benefit from Early Years and other services provided in Hubs. Chelmsford Family Hub is co-commissioned by a clinical commissioning group.
Philanthropic and Charitable Donations
Hartlepool Hubs received £1.52m from Comic Relief, Big Lottery Fund, Esmee Fairbairn. The charity and social enterprise Changing Futures North East was the biggest financial partner in Hartlepool’s Family Hub with a 5 year (2015-2020) strategy.
Other Funding Opportunities