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Buckinghamshire County Council launches new Family Support Service

| September 3, 2019

Buckinghamshire County Council has launched a new support service for families in Buckinghamshire.

Launched on Monday 2nd September 2019, the new Family Support Service offers a wide range of advice, help and information to families in Buckinghamshire through a network of sixteen new family centres spread across over three locality areas in Buckinghamshire.

The new Family Support Service is how the County Council is now providing services as part of the local ‘Early Help’ partnership with local schools, health practitioners and community providers.

The sixteen buildings previously used as children’s centres will become family centres while the former Children’s centre buildings no longer being used by the Council as part of the new service will be used by alternate providers to deliver services primarily for early years and wider community led use.

The aim of the service is to provide a more targeted, specially tailored help for families with more complex challenges.

Families will be helped to overcome their problems before they get worse and reach crisis point so that in the longer term they become more self-sufficient and lead happier, healthier lives.

The families will be helped directly in their homes or other places where they are comfortable such as libraries or community spaces as well as being able to go to specific sessions at the family centres.

Where needed, a lead family worker will create a team of professionals around families experiencing problems such drug and alcohol misuse, money problems, mental health issues, domestic violence, or who may have children with poor school attendance or emerging additional needs.

The 16 family centres will also offer a programme of activities for all Buckinghamshire families with children up to the age of 19 (or 25 for children with special educational needs or a disability (SEND).

The new family centres are located at :

  • Amersham
  • Beaconsfield
  • Berryfields (Aylesbury)
  • Buckingham
  • Burnham
  • Castlefield (High Wycombe)
  • Elmhurst Family Centre (Aylesbury)
  • Hampden Way (High Wycombe)
  • Hithercroft (High Wycombe)
  • Iver
  • Marlow
  • Risborough
  • Wing

There are also three ‘Family Centre Plus’ sites offering  drop in advice and support five days a week at :

  • Southcourt Family Centre Plus (Aylesbury)
  • Mapledean Family Centre Plus (High Wycombe)
  • Newtown Family Centre Plus (Chesham)

Timetables of activities available at the family centres can be seen online via the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service website  at www.bucksfamilyinfo.org.

Families with younger children (aged 0 to 5) will be able to go to open sessions at their local family centre as well as being able to access the health services and drop-in clinics they already use.

Warren Whyte is Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services. He said: ‘I’m delighted to see the new Family Support Service start from today [Monday 2nd September 2019].

The new Family Support Service integrates the general support we provide to local families with a more targeted approach for those who need a higher level of help from us.

It’s been essential for us to make these changes as previously we weren’t able to get help to families quickly and effectively enough when problems emerge – this has contributed to an increase in the numbers of children needing social care input.

Parents of young children will still be able to go to classes, see health visitors and access their usual services at their closest family centre, which will offer flexible opening hours and develop a wider range of activities than many of the children’s centres did previously. There will be open sessions at our family centres for any family with children of any age who would like a little extra guidance or support.

This new service is a key element of how we intend to reduce school exclusions and reduce the numbers of children needing social care involvement.

Further information about the new Family Centres and information on how to access family centre information and timetables can be found on the Buckinghamshire County Council website at : www.bucksfamilyinfo.org/familysupport.

*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire County Council.

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