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Northumberland Sure Start Centers will be replaced by a ‘family hub’ model UK News

Northumberland is set to move away from Sure Start children’s centers towards a new ‘family centre’ model aimed at providing support to a wider range of families.

Northumberland County Council’s Family and Children’s Services Monitoring and Review Board was told on Thursday that the new centers would aim to provide services to families with children of all ages.

Northumberland currently has 12 children’s centers as well as various outreach posts in more rural areas – up from 26 at the height of the Sure Start scheme, which began in 1998.

Read more:Parents will be consulted on a possible change to a two-tier school system at Berwick

The Family Centers will aim to strengthen families and prevent family breakdown, as well as support families that are separating in the best interest of the children. The rebranding of services is expected to be completed by September this year.

Jackie McCormack, principal director of the Council for Child Welfare, explained that it was felt that the focus on the early years in children’s centers did not solve the problems faced by the majority of families.

Have you been accompanied by a Sure Start centre? Let us know what you think of the changes in the comments section

Reporting to members, she said: “The focus on the early years in Sure Start does not reflect the reality of family life. Problems arise in high school.

“Early help for these issues is essential to prevent these issues from spiraling out of control and derailing life choices. The service must be available to all families, regardless of the age of their children.”

The new family hubs will have both physical and virtual presence, while outreach services will continue to operate in rural areas. Ms McCormack said staff would take a “creative” approach to reaching families in these areas.

Councilor Guy Renner-Thompson, a cabinet member of the Council for Children’s Services, said: “It’s going to be quite a big transformation. I’m really looking forward to it.”

He added that more services, such as midwifery and other NHS support services, would be under one roof, avoiding duplication of services.

The council was also successful in securing central government funding for the hub model.

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