More help for families with new family hubs

H&F Council is making it easier for children, young people and their families to access help and support.

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H&F Deputy Leader Cllr Ben Coleman (standing left) delivers a speech at the family hub launch event in Fulham

As promised, Hammersmith & Fulham Council is developing new family hubs with the community to make it easier for children, young people and their families to get the range of help and support they need.

On Monday, parents, groups representing families with Disabled children, the council’s children’s services and the local NHS came together at Action on Disability in Fulham to launch a new collaboration, with the first family hub expected to open in April next year.

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David Buxton, chief executive of Action on Disability, shares his experiences of growing up as a Disabled young person

Cllr Ben Coleman, Deputy Leader of H&F, opened the event by setting out what the hubs will mean, and the council’s determination to develop them directly with children, young and people and families themselves.

Nandini Ganesh, coordinator of the local ParentsActive forum for families with Disabled children, and Zara and Alexa, parents of Disabled children in H&F, spoke passionately about the challenges of navigating local bureaucracy and the benefits they saw of services coming together in family hubs.

David Buxton, chief executive of Action on Disability, gave a personal account of his experiences of the barriers he faced as a Disabled young person, and his hopes for how the new family hubs would be co-produced to support the entire community.

Susan Roosten and Emma Raha from the local NHS looked forward to integrating health and other services to provide better care to children, young people and families.

There was lively discussion about creating a shared vision for the family hubs, the services these would offer and the benefits of working together in a new way.

Our thanks to Action on Disability, Young Hammersmith & Fulham Foundation, ParentsActive, Mencap and the NHS for helping to organise the event with the council.

For further support, please visit our health and Disabilities webpage.

Opening remarks by Cllr Ben Coleman

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Cllr Ben Coleman (standing) delivers his opening remarks

It’s a great pleasure to welcome you to this first opportunity to get involved with the development of fantastic new family hubs in our borough.

This is an exciting time. As a council, we’re always looking for ways of improving how we support children, young people and families – and ensuring our services adapt to meet families’ changing needs.

Family hubs were promised in our 2022 manifesto, which said, “We want every child, young person and family to be able to access the right support at the right time” and that we would “develop family hubs to make it simpler for families to access a wide range of council services.”

We also pledged to “expand co-production across all council departments and services so that residents are fully involved from the earliest stage in shaping the services that affect their lives.”

Today is about delivering on these commitments.

Family hubs will meet H&F families’ needs even better by bringing services together in one place and offering integrated support.

Our physical family hubs will be central sites within our communities and welcoming, comfortable and supportive places. There will also be integrated online support.

The range of what will be on offer will include activities for children aged 0 to 5, midwifery and maternity support, health visiting for ages 0 to 5, mental health services, debt and welfare advice, public health services for ages 0 to 19, and intensive, targeted family support.

We will also be developing the family hubs in a new way, by collaborating with children and young people and their families, family groups, the local third sector, the NHS and the council’s children’s services in genuine partnership.

This is all in line with the administration’s mantra of doing things with residents, not to them. Another term for this is “co-production” or “nothing about us without us”.

I look forward to achieving our ambition for family hubs as a community, together."

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