PEOPLE are being asked their views on plans to develop of a network of family hubs to provide additional help and support to families across Sunderland.

Sunderland is one of 75 local authorities in the UK to secure Government funding for the hubs which will help services such as midwifery, health visitors, mental health support and services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to provide support in one place.

The hubs will provide a joined up, wrap-around service for the whole family from conception, through a child’s early years, until they are 19 (or 25 if they have special educational needs and disabilities).

Councillor Louise Farthing, Cabinet Member for Children, Learning and Skills at Sunderland City Council, said: “We want every family in Sunderland to have the support they need when they need it. Family Hubs are all about making sure that families can access the help and support they need at an early stage.

“This means prioritising the crucial first days of children’s lives, tackling any issues before they escalate, reducing disadvantage and achieving better outcomes for all children and young people. So we really want to hear people’s views on what services and support they would like to see provided in the new Family Hubs.”

Jill Colbert, Chief Executive of Together for Children, which delivers children’s services on behalf of the City Council, added: “We’re really excited to be part of the roll out of Family Hubs. We’ve come a long way in Sunderland in the last few years and we now have lots of services that try to help families when problems arise. But Family Hubs will allow us to do so much more by building on the support already available to families across our city, meaning that vulnerable families can get expert help even before they need it.”

The Hubs will allow partners and services to work together to support families in one place.

Sunderland currently has four Family Centres in Sunderland – Bunnyhill in Hylton Castle, Thorney Close in the West, The Rainbow Centre in Washington and Coalfield Family Centre in Hetton. These will all change into Family Hubs. There are also plans to open a fifth Family Hub in the East of the city.

To help shape the Family Hubs, Sunderland City Council and Together for Children which delivers Children’s Services on behalf of the City Council are asking everyone who uses or has an interest in services for children and families in the city to take part in a public consultation which runs through until 31 March.

They would particularly like to hear which services should be provided for children and families in their area, which are needed most and where and how they currently access advice, information and support.

To take part in the consultation visit:

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