Sutton Family Hubs

‘Family Hubs’ will be popping up in many local authorities around the Country over the next few years. The aim of them is to provide earlier and more joined up support for children, young people and families. 

A Family Hub supports families from conception, through a child’s early years, to later childhood, up to the age of 19 (or 25 for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

In Sutton, this isn’t about a big launch of a brand, or suddenly getting brand new buildings or new services and roles. We want to build our family hubs in a way that has the best chance of improving experiences for families, based on the context we are in now, and based on what we know really matters, and makes a difference. 

In Sutton, we are building our family hub model on the following beliefs:

  1. There will never be enough resources to fully meet everybody’s needs, so we need to really understand what will make the most meaningful difference, with what we have.

  2. Navigating through various systems and processes when looking for help and advice, is complicated, can be confusing and broken, and often the experience of that alone can add additional stress, anxiety,and potentially harm to families.

  3. The way we treat each other as professionals is really important. It will impact the people we are seeking to support. You really matter, and the way you are treated and treat others really matters too.  

  4. We have some brilliant local practice, services, professionals. Many of whom are under strain. We will build our family hubs knowing that our services aren’t all running as they would do if we had all vacancies filled, and more capacity in each person’s day. Which will mean that we need to pull together and problem solve a bit more.

  5. We know that for any person to be able to thrive, first and foremost, they (and we) need a trusted, secure relationship and basic needs met (e.g. safety, housing, food). 

For us in Sutton, the work of building family hubs will be about:

  • Looking at the actual experience of families that navigate through our services to get help, and making local policy changes to make this experience better.

  • Providing more joined up and targeted outreach in local communities.

  • Working with young people and families to adapt our existing spaces. 

  • Building better ways of working well together, across our different services; co-locating where appropriate, and creating more opportunities to learn & reflect together.

This is very much about ‘how’ we do what we do, and not just ‘what’ we do. In our approach we want to respect lived experiences, local practice and evidence.

The group that has been leading our Helping Early work together, is going to oversee the development of Family Hubs in Sutton. This includes people from Housing, Employment, Social Care, the Voluntary Sector, Public Health, Primary Care, Children’s Centre services, Targeted Early Help, Commissioning, Education. Parent representatives will shortly become part of this group too. 

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