This is the vision which Fiona promoted in a Parliamentary debate just before recess.
“It might be a library or a repurposed children’s centre. Some people will simply get access to it online; but wherever and whatever it is, the family hub should be recognisable to local families”.
Fiona argued that it these are needed because a long-term transformational strategy is needed for thousands of children impacted by problems in families.
At the moment central and local government focus on their duties to children in schools, early years and social care settings, but little is done for those where they spend most of their formative hours.
“No family is immune from the need for support from time to time, to function well. Parents may need access at this time to support for their own mental health, when things get difficult for those with little children during lockdown. They may need support for substance and addiction issues, finances or housing. They may need relationship counselling or specialist support for domestic abuse.”
“It should be a non-judgmental door open to all—a place that they can turn to whenever they need to.”
Fiona previously championed this issue in her 2016 report The Future of Children’s Centres and 2017 A Manifesto to Strengthen Families. She added after the debate:
“This is something which I have been campaigning about for several years. I am pleased that the Government has allocated some funding, but disappointed that progress is so slow.
“I am a firm believer in help at the right moment – everyone benefits because problems deferred become bigger problems later in life.
“Now more than ever we need these centres of support in local communities – and I was very pleased at the number of MPs in this week’s debate who supported Family Hubs. I will continue to press Government to make these a reality. At present a few visionary local councils have done so in their areas; we now need Government to collate best practice from amongst the Family Hubs already set up, and to share this across the country, to help turbo boost the creation of hundreds more.”