Families DO matter… and this will help give them the best possible start: RISHI SUNAK and ANDREA LEADSOM on why ‘hubs’ will help struggling parents
Families are something politicians often struggle to talk about – yet they are always there in the background, propping us up, celebrating with us in times of great joy, comforting us in times of need.
They are the common thread in most of our lives and it doesn’t matter what the thread looks like, or what form the patchwork takes, as long as it is woven with love.
Put simply, families matter. That is why it is so important to give parents and carers the support they need to give every child the best start in life.
Because all the evidence shows that the first 1,001 days of a baby’s life are critical in shaping their cognitive, emotional and physical development.
Incredibly, more than a million new neural connections are formed every second in the first year of a child’s life.
Families are something politicians often struggle to talk about. Pictured: Andrea Leadsom MP
Strong, supportive families also make for more stable communities and happier individuals.
All the data shows that kids with a safe and secure home environment do better at school. And we all know the long-lasting damage that family breakdown can cause.
This is why we committed to champion family hubs in the 2019 election manifesto.
Seventy-five councils have signed up to create a new network of family hubs and we’ve backed the programme with over £300million of investment.
Once fully rolled out, thousands of kids and their families will be able to benefit from the support they provide.
The hubs offer a range of services – from help with infant feeding through to strengthening parents’ relationships with children.
Families can also access antenatal checks and health visitor meetings as well as advice on debt and welfare.
Parents have described the hubs as a ‘lifeline’ not least because – as many of us will know – having children can bring challenges as well as much joy.
This means that parents need to know where to access the right support when they need it.
READ MORE: ‘Family hubs’ will be launched to help struggling parents as Rishi Sunak announces £300million boost for national support network
But all too often they are forced to navigate a complex web of different support services – frequently long after they need help.
These hubs will change that by bringing the various services together while also providing a friendly place for parents to meet other families.
And they will help parents to form life-long bonds with their babies and children, including by teaching them to chat, play and read.
We know that they will make a real difference but there is always more to do. So today we go even further by announcing 14 new ‘trailblazer’ local authorities across the country.
Backed by extra funding, these authorities will lead the way in delivering services such as midwifery, health visiting and perinatal mental health.
And they will provide the template for family hubs around the UK so that every parent and carer has access to the support they need right from the start.
So if you’re a new mum in need of help to bond with your baby – or a 15-year-old who is struggling with friendships – your local family hub will be there for you.
This is far from the limit of our ambition to support parents and children.
We want to digitise the ‘red book’ baby health record so that parents and health professionals can better share information and families need to tell their story only once.
And we’re putting children’s education at the heart of our agenda, including by championing numeracy to make sure no one leaves school without the skills they need to navigate a changing world.
Together we will continue to champion the needs of children and their families.
Although it won’t always be front page news, getting it right couldn’t be more important.
That’s because successful families are the foundation of a successful society and our future depends on the happiness and wellbeing of the next generation.
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