Four Family Hubs in the Bradford district welcomed local families this week, hosting a series of activity-filled events to highlight the range of services they provide. The events, which ran from May 30th to June 2nd, took place at Barkerend, the TFD Centre in Holmewood, Farcliffe in Toller, and Rainbow in Keighley.

The aim of these events was to give families a glimpse into the services regularly offered at the Family Hubs. Health specialists were on hand to provide advice on various topics such as infant feeding and family relationships, while support workers organised engaging games and craft activities for children. The district-wide partnership organisations also participated by offering story time, stay and play sessions, and rhyme time activities. The popular Bookstart Bear made a special appearance, delighting children and parents alike. Additionally, families were provided with information to take home, ensuring they remain connected with their local Family Hub in the future.

Family Hubs have been an integral part of the Bradford district since 2019. Earlier this year, research revealed that while many families in the area were benefiting from the support and advice provided by local health and care services, a significant number of respondents were unaware of the Family Hubs. Therefore, the events were designed to raise awareness about these hubs and the services they offer.

At the core of the Bradford district’s response to the government-funded Family Hubs and Start for Life initiative, the Family Hubs aim to improve the lives of babies and young children, particularly during the critical first 1,001 days from pre-birth to age two. Over the next two years, additional funding will be channelled through the Family Hubs and Start for Life to key services that have the greatest impact on ensuring children lead healthy and thriving lives. The initiative also seeks to involve families in decision-making processes and make information easily accessible.

Councillor Imran Khan, the deputy leader of Bradford Council and portfolio holder for education, employment, and skills, expressed his vision for the district, stating, “We want Bradford district to be a great place where all our children and young people are given the best start in life. The additional funding through the Family Hubs and Start for Life program will allow us to enhance the existing support provided across the district, ensuring babies, young children, and their families receive the right support for their health, well-being, and education.”

He added, “Family Hubs is the name to remember for family support across the Bradford district. Our district’s Family Hubs provide a welcoming space for face-to-face sessions, appointments, courses, and activities to support families with children and young people. Whether you already have children, are pregnant, or are thinking about starting a family, I encourage families to drop in, meet the staff for a chat, and find out more.”

Charlotte Ramsden, Chief Executive Officer at Bradford Children and Families Trust, emphasised the significance of the Family Hubs as a network of support for families. Ramsden said, “Family Hubs are our network of support for families with children and young people aged up to 19 (24 with SEND) and at every stage of family life. They are a safe, child-friendly, and supportive place which aim to help families nurture their children to grow up well and thrive. All families are welcome to visit our network of Family Hubs to discover the wide range of support, advice, and information available to them, including the services offered through Start for Life.”

While the Family Hubs became part of the newly formed Bradford Children and Families Trust in April this year, the services continue to be delivered through various partnership organisations.

Bradford District’s Family Hubs and Start for Life program involves several key partners working together to implement the initiative. These partners include Bradford Council, Bradford Children and Families Trust, Bradford and Craven Health and Care Partnership, the district care trust, Bradford and Airedale Hospital Trusts, Better Start Bradford, and numerous local voluntary sector organisations.