Press release from St Helens Borough Council
Public health, children’s social care and other partners came together this week for the official opening of St Helens Borough’s second Family Hub which offers a broad range of services under one roof.
Formerly Central Link Children’s Centre in Peter Street, Central Link Family Hub is part of a £3m Department for Education-funded initiative to develop family hubs and build on a range of other services for children and families in the borough over the next couple of years.
Sutton Children’s Centre in Ellamsbridge Road became the borough’s the first Family Hub in November last year, with Newton-le-Willows Children’s Centre also set to become a Family Hub in the near future.
The focus is on the first 1001 days of a child’s life and to support families with children up to 19 years of age – or 25 for young people with SEND – with antenatal care, health visiting, infant feeding and parenting and child development programmes among an extensive list of support on offer.
And it’s clear to see after listening to services users how facilities like Central Link Family Hub are having a positive impact on the local community.
Maria, from Eccleston, visited Central Link for the first time with her partner and four-month-old daughter, Georgia, to attend a baby sensory group after hearing about Family Hubs through her health visitor.
“Facilities like this are well needed and valuable assets in our communities because I think a lot of areas are deprived due to service cuts up and down the country,” Maria said.
“I was actually quite nervous about coming by myself which is why I got my partner to come with me for the first session so that I feel more confident – but everyone has been very welcoming; it’s a nice atmosphere.”
As part of its transformation into a Family Hub, the council-run facility has undergone a refurbishment which involved redecorating rooms – while new play equipment has been purchased.
The opening of Family Hubs in St Helens borough has also led to a number of new employment opportunities, including three apprenticeships.
Commenting after cutting the ribbon alongside the Mayor of St Helens Borough, Lynn Clarke, and portfolio holders for children’s services and public health to formally open Central Link Family Hub, St Helens Borough Council Leader, David Baines, said:
“Doing all we can to ensure every single child and young person in St Helens borough has the best possible start in life is our first priority as a council which was rewarded with a Good Ofsted last year, so it’s a great honour to open Central Link Family Hub – the second of three hubs that we’ll be opening across the borough to support children, young people and their families.
“I want to thank everyone who made this possible, in particular our public health and children’s social care at St Helens Borough Council. It takes a lot of work to do something like this and we couldn’t have done it without our partners too. Partnership work is something we excel at here in St Helens borough and residents are at the very heart of everything we do. It’s wonderful that local children, young people and parents have helped us shape the Family Hub.”
Councillor Nova Charlton, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, added: “It’s important that we continue to offer support to families, particularly in the current financial climate, so it’s great that they can come here and access the support that’s available to them, with a comprehensive online offer also in place for working parents and carers who can’t make it down so they are still able to enjoy the benefits.
“One of the main things we’re looking to achieve through having Family Hubs is supporting parents and carers to be the best they can possibly be and help give children and young people the best start in life – raising aspirations in safe environments like this where they can thrive.”
St Helens Borough Council-run Family Hubs and children’s centres offer 100 free weekly activities and programmes across seven sites, from mini melody and mini chef classes, to Grandtot’s and getting ready for nursery classes.
To find out more, including class timetables and opening days, visit: sthelensfamilyhub.sthelens.gov.uk
Guests attending the official opening of Central Link Family Hub