Reaching families, reducing stigma – how Family Hubs can reach everyone

Posted 6th December 2023

The goal of a Family Hub is to be a ‘one-stop-shop’, providing access to a wide range of services under one roof. So it calls for some creative thinking when it comes to making them appealing and accessible to all, from those at the maternity and early years stage right through to youth services. The aim is to be in a position to offer appropriate support to parents, children and teenagers alike, covering a broad spectrum of needs.

Being welcoming is always a priority, so a relationally strong front-of-house worker can play a vital role in ensuring everyone who accesses a Family Hub feels safe and accepted. It is important to avoid anyone feeling stigmatised or put off. Providing universal services such as birth registration, health appointments, playgroups or other youth and community services can be a way of ensuring that Family Hubs are for everyone, countering the mindset that they might only be for those who are in ‘trouble’. Some Family Hubs are run in venues like public libraries and leisure centres, where people attend for a variety of other reasons, but can also find access to more targeted additional assistance if necessary. Most families need support at some point, and Family Hubs are the ‘Early Front Door’ they can walk through and be signposted to whatever help is right for their situation.

When it comes to older children and teenagers, it may be that the youth worker does not deliver support within the Family Hub, but works in an integrated way with others who do. For example, we know of a GP surgery affiliated with a Family Hub, which has a different door for young people to come through, and a separate section in the practice where they wait and are seen, so they don’t have to worry about bumping into their parents. There are other options like this which multi-purpose buildings have refined. A successful Family Hub model recognises it can be a challenge for one building to have the right spaces to cover everything, and instead seeks to create a joined-up network of venues and delivery sites that can cater to a range of different needs and age groups.

If you would like to hear more about this and other topics related to Family Hubs, please listen to our ‘Building Back Better’ webinar for more insights.

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