Family Hubs will help parents and their children lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.
Delivered from four locations around the town, the new scheme sees Middlesbrough Council teams joined by expert partner staff to support families with issues as wide-ranging as infant feeding to mental health.
Help with language and communication, to prepare young children for school, is also on offer.
Four main hubs will operate from current children’s centres in Hemlington, Park End, Thorntree and West Middlesbrough. There will also be outreach hubs from children’s centres at Abingdon Primary School and North Ormesby.
Here are seven ways the service could help you:
The right help, right from the start
A range of support is available to provide practical parenting help and advice, from pregnancy to parenthood.
We want to make sure we boost the confidence of our parents and see them get the most out of family life.
Families can access support from dedicated Enhanced Maternity Care Assistants to promote positive emotional wellbeing during pregnancy, including Walk and Talk and Aqua Natal sessions.
And Family Hubs offer a range of support for new parents including the Positive Parenting Programme for babies online and in groups; Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond and other Early Years workshops.
Supporting good mental health
The stress and anxiety parents feel in the early stages of parenthood is natural, but it can sometimes cause poor mental health.
Many mums may experience low mood or poor mental health after giving birth and for up to the first two years of the baby’s life.
But help is on offer to help parents build strong and nurturing relationships with their children.
Family Action offers all round mental health support for families.
Helping those affected by neonatal loss
Lottie King from Leo’s Neonatal charity, believes the new Family Hubs will be “massive” for Middlesbrough.
The Leo’s Perinatal service will work with families who have been affected by miscarriages, stillbirth, termination for medical reasons or any neonatal loss.
“I’m really humbled because it’s nice to have a spotlight shined on the fact that baby loss families do need that care and support,” said Lottie, who established the charity following the loss of her baby son Leo.
“Our team have lived experience,” Lottie says.
“We know what it’s like. We know the devastation that it feels to lose a baby and the pain that you can carry with you for years.”
And there’s a focus on young dads
A project that will offer support to young Middlesbrough dads is part of our new Family Hubs offer.
Caring advisers like Rob and Nathan have received help from North East Young Dads and Lads themselves, and now stand ready to support others.
Rob explains: “I didn’t know what I was doing when my daughter was really young. I got some help and then volunteered with the organisation. Our experience benefits the young men that we support. It’s like a full circle.”
NEYDL helps young dads up to the age of 26 with no lower age range and has an e-learning platform that offers advice on bottle feeding and other practical ways in which they can help a child’s mother.
Traditional Health Visitor support
Our team of health visitors support the health and wellbeing of your whole family though the Healthy Child Programme, while infant feeding support ensures parents have information about all aspects of feeding their baby.
The Family Hubs host health visitor drop-in clinics and offer Healthy Start vitamins.
Making sure children are ready for school
One area of focus for the Family Hubs is to support families with their child’s speech, language and communication skills.
There’s a dedicated advice line for parents with concerns and a package of support including the Let’s Talk programme.
And the Hubs also offer support for parents to help them create a positive home learning environment for their child so they have the skills needed to be ready for nursery and school.
Jenny James, Family Hubs Early Language and Home Learning Environment Lead for Middlesbrough Council, said: “We’re here to try and ensure children are ready for school or nursery. It’s the simple things like playing, chatting, reading and singing as a family.”
The team offers group sessions including Early Words Together and Early Talk Boost as well as bookable speech therapy appointments.
“Everything that we do is designed to have an impact,” Jenny says. “We want to make a difference to people’s lives and for that difference to be sustained.”
Benefits, childcare and more
It’s not all focused on childcare, staff at our Hubs are also there to guide parents and families.
They can help with advice on managing finances, getting back into work or training and navigating the benefit and welfare system.
There’s also vital information on services and support available for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
You can also find out about your entitlement to free early education and childcare for two, three and four-year olds.
How can you access help
For more detailed information on any service, call the Family Hubs service 01642 579120 or check out the information on Middlesbrough’s Family Information Service website.