Primary school's 'one-stop support hub' is a lifeline for families
The Family Hub at Cranham Primary School in Worcester is a beacon of support for families of the school, offering a unique one-stop resource that brings together various community organisations to offer them support. This collaborative effort involves partners such as Platform Housing, Community Housing, the Police, Starting Well Partnership, and Worcester City Council.
The Family Hub opens its doors to families every other Wednesday morning. Once children have been dropped off at school, families are welcomed into the hub and can conveniently access support in a familiar and trusted setting without the need to visit each organisation or wait on the phone to speak to someone.
“It's easier to access services here at the school” commented a father from the school.
The Family Hub was set up at Cranham over 3 years ago by Sue Turner, The Family Liaison and Nurture Lead. Sue and the Nurture Team help children develop vital social skills, confidence and self-esteem, ensuring they can learn. Whilst running the school's nurture base Sue recognised that parents often had no support which can impact a child's performance at school.
“If parents are going through challenges at home, their anxiety and nervousness can affect the children. If I can signpost or offer support to families, this helps and supports the work being done by the nurture team,” said Sue.
Recognising that the challenges families face are complex, the Family Hub provides a complete support system, addressing key aspects such as housing, employment, community safety, behaviour, health and wellbeing.
For families who have visited the Family Hub, it is more than just a service; it's a lifeline. One father shared how the hub had helped him resolve multiple issues including help with housing, career advice and help from the police to address his child’s shoplifting, he commented “[the hub] is something worth doing and really helpful”.
A representative from Starting Well Partnership said, “The hub provides a place to go for families to ask for help and have access to all the people who can help under one roof”.
Starting Well Partnership offers courses for parents and carers to support their needs and has delivered courses at the school to help families ‘Understand Your Child’ and deal with challenging behaviour.
Community & connection
The Family Hub is not only a destination for those seeking assistance it also serves as a welcoming retreat for those who may feel isolated or lonely at home, it’s a friendly place to go for a cup of tea and a chat, fostering a sense of community and connection.
One mother said, “As a stay-at-home mum, it’s just nice to know I’ve got somewhere to go and a chance to socialise”.
Another mother commented that the family hub and the school offer a “family feel and a real sense of community”.
The Family Hub addresses immediate needs within the community and offers a food pantry for families.
“Parents can come to the hub and collect food items. We have been kindly donated a chest freezer so that we can store frozen items along with packet and tinned goods. I can hand out frozen chips a tin of beans and some sausages and know that the family will have a meal that evening,” said Sue.
The partnering organisations regularly donate items to the food pantry and have even provided families with household items such as a fridge and beds for children to sleep on.
Many of the food donations come from Bags of Love, a local community group in Warndon. The group organises collections and raises money for worthy causes. In the summer one of the group members donated money to the Family Hub so that Sue could buy a family of five children new school shoes and a full High School uniform and PE Kit for the eldest child.
In addition to the Family Hub, the school offers wellbeing and finance drop-in sessions every Friday in partnership with Worcester Community Trust.
The school also hosts ‘Free@Three’ during school pick up on Thursdays, whereby surplus food items, collected by Sue from Aldi and Lidl along with pre-loved uniforms, adult's and children’s coats, Halloween costumes and Christmas jumpers are made available for families in need.
With families feeling the cost-of-living crisis, these resources and services are a vital lifeline for families with nowhere to turn.
Steph Russell, a parent at the school, first visited the hub 3 years ago looking for support with housing. Platform Housing was able to help Steph with a house move and furthermore with career advice and writing a CV. This led Steph to a job working for Platform Housing as a Housing Officer. She now attends the Family Hub in her new role, to aid families in a similar position.
Steph commented, “I wouldn’t have been where I am now without the support of the school. I’ve seen so many families struggle that have got help from the hub”.
The Family Hub at Cranham Primary School has proved to be an invaluable resource for the community, embodying the school's commitment to nurturing not only the academic but also the wellbeing of its pupils and their families.
The hub is one element of the school’s ‘Early Help’ offer to provide advice, help or support where emerging problems and potential unmet needs of individual children and families have been identified.
Sue concluded "We are committed to the wellbeing of our pupils and their families. By collaborating with community organisations, we can offer a broad spectrum of support services conveniently located within our school premises. Our aim is to reduce barriers to learning for the children and to support parents who are experiencing difficulties or have concerns about their children”.
Families with children due to start reception class in September 2024 are welcome to visit the school during an open afternoon on Saturday 16th December, between 2 pm and 4 pm. Prospective parents interested in seeing the school should call the school office on 01905 452437 to book a school tour.