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Norfolk families set to gain more support thanks to a new volunteer service

Norfolk County Council, 15 February 2024 14:18

Families in Norfolk will benefit from a new practical service launched by Norfolk County Council and Home-Start Norfolk.

The County Council has awarded a one-year contract, starting in April 2024, to deliver a new volunteer peer support service to Home-Start Norfolk, as part of its innovative family hub programme.

The service will be accessible for families in Norfolk who are expecting a baby, or have a child up to the age of two-years-old. It is for those who require practical support to make sure they have the tools and resources they need to give their children the best start in life.

Councillor Penny Carpenter, cabinet member for Children's Services, said: "We are delighted to join forces with Home-Start Norfolk. Their proven track record in making a tangible difference in the lives of families across Norfolk aligns perfectly with our vision for the family hubs programme.

"Together, we will work tirelessly to ensure that every family in Norfolk has access to the support they need when they need it. This strategic partnership aims to bolster the council's efforts in providing comprehensive support to families across Norfolk, ensuring every child gets the best start in life."

Home-Start Norfolk's Senior Lead, Liz Cross, said "We are thrilled to be working in partnership with the County Council to support Norfolk's Start for Life and Family Hub programme." 

"Home-Start has provided emotional and practical support to Norfolk families over the last thirty-five years through a volunteer peer support model. Our volunteer team was recognised late last year with the Kings Award for Voluntary Service, so it has been a very exciting few months for the charity.

"We look forward to working with the Start for Life team to broaden our offer to families with children aged 0 to 2, as we know these 1001 critical days are so crucial to children's early development and emotional wellbeing."

Many families need a little extra support during pregnancy and in the early years of their child's development, including practical support such as with understanding which crib or cot to purchase within their budget. Peer support volunteers can help families feel less isolated and to develop networks in their local communities. Many families have shared that they value the support from family, friends, and others with similar lived experiences, often above, and in addition, to support from professionals.

In recognition of the needs of families, Home-Start Norfolk will recruit, train and support volunteers to connect and build relationships with individual families in the comfort of their own homes or local community venues. The service will also include community-based groups and activities, supporting individuals to access wider social activities within their local area and accessing guided self-help resources.

The support will empower parents to have capacity and confidence to ensure their child's needs are met, including help to discover and navigate their local community, access professional support and support identified needs.

This peer support offer is being delivered as part of Norfolk's Start for Life and Family Hub approach, which is funded through the national Government Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme.

The Start for Life and Family Hubs approach supports Norfolk's vision for every child and young person to flourish. It helps strengthen Norfolk's prevention and early help offer for families with children up to age of 19, or 25 if they have special educational needs and disabilities.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 13:20

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