Families First News

The latest news

Introducing the new grants page on portal

Our Families First Partnership Groups have produced a list of National and Local grant providers. This will hopefully prove a useful resource for the whole partnership whilst working with families. Please visit the providers websites for up-to-date information and criteria.

As this list relies on all our partners knowledge and awareness of grants and funding opportunities, please email should you wish to add a provider or remove/update any of the listings.


Could you help transform young people’s lives?

YCYC Hertfordshire Services for Young People, Hertfordshire County Council’s targeted youth service, is recruiting for Youth Support Workers to help vulnerable and at-risk young people develop personally, socially and emotionally.

If you have knowledge of sports, arts, media, music, outdoor education, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, health issues or any other areas which are of interest to young people, you could potentially become a Youth Support Worker.

The role is flexible and usually requires you to work a few late afternoons or evenings each week (term time) to help deliver groupwork projects in local community settings.

This paid role involves you working as part of a team to encourage young people to take part in planned programmes to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding in an area of interest.

Our aim is to help young people reach their full potential, make informed decisions and go on to become happy, healthy and socially-aware adults.

We’ll support you every step of the way, including with initial and ongoing training.

We have fixed hour and flexible hour contracts available in locations across Hertfordshire and in return we offer:

  • A competitive benefits package with lifestyle-friendly hours
  • Career-defining opportunity to develop your youth engagement skills
  • Access to ongoing training and development
  • Plenty of support from experienced team-members

Find out more about becoming a Youth Support Worker with YC Hertfordshire.


Update : Transforming SEND services

Local Offer Test Website

Have you heard of the Local Offer website? The Local Offer lets parents and young people know what special educational needs and disabilities services are available in Hertfordshire, and who can access them.  The website has been rebuilt with the help of parents, and relaunched in a test area - take a look at the brand new site here, and give feedback before it's launched fully in the new year.

Save the Date

There will be a Local Offer Website launch on Tuesday 21st January from 12pm to 7pm at the Stanborough Centre in Watford.  More details can be found here.

What are Local Delivery Networks?

The vision for Local Delivery Networks (LDN) in Hertfordshire is a partnership model that works together to join up local SEND services in a way that will help to provide families with the right service at the right time and in the right place.  Working in this way will help us to ensure :

  • more children with SEND are educated within a local school and participate in their local community
  • improved support to local mainstream schools for inclusion and flexible provision
  • clearer pathways for families to access SEND support

We are trialling this way of working in Stevenage, following a well-attended partnership workshop in November last year which presented prototype ideas to test and learn from new ways of delivering SEND services.

The overarching aim of a LDN, is the desire to further connect services to each other through networking, rationalising and formalising systems and processes, across health, education and social care. Some of the early work underway is to broker support between school support workers and Families First Co-ordinators.

The image below shows how we envisage local delivery networks will improve services for families:



You can read more about progress in Transforming SEND on our Local Offer blogs here or email SENDTransformation@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Sporting Chance

With levels of knife crime at an all-time high in Hertfordshire, the Herts Sports Partnership is using sport as an early intervention to deter young people on the cusp of the youth justice system away from engaging in criminal activity.

Sporting Chance has been designed with vulnerable young lives in mind and uses boxing and multi-sports as the conduits to focusing young people at risk, through positive diversionary activities. Supported by Hertfordshire Constabulary, Stevenage FC Foundation, Watford FC Community Sports & Education Trust, YC Hertfordshire and a team of boxing coaches, the programme offers weekly sport sessions in community venues such as schools, sports clubs and leisure centres.

Find out more at the link below:-

Youth Crime Awareness Evening

Hertfordshire Constabulary and local Community Safety Partnerships are working with local schools to host an information evening for parents, carers and the wider community on

Monday 27th January at Bushey Academy, London Road, Bushey, WD23 3AA

Refreshments will be available from 6:30pm and the session will start at 7pm and close at 9:15pm.

During the evening you will hear from guest speakers Alison Cope & Nathaniel Peat from Safety Box who will talk about:

    • Gangs
    • County lines
    • Knife crime
    • Social media
    • Positive choices

The full invitation letter can be found here and please email to book you place

County lines is a national issue involving the use of a mobile phone line by groups to extend their drug dealing business into new locations outside of their home areas. It almost always involves the exploitation of vulnerable people, including both children and adults.

Relationships Matter Roadshows 2019

Nearly 100 people attended our Relationships Matter Roadshows in November and December, joining the campaign to improve relationships in Hertfordshire, reduce parental conflict, and improve outcomes for children.

Community organisations, the Police, GPs, Families First and a huge range of other agencies, all came together to pledge how they will improve relationships in Hertfordshire.

Our Road Shows were even discussed on the Stevenage Radio Show ‘Mind over Matter’. You can listen to the episode here: https://www.mixcloud.com/matt shoobridge/mind-over-matter-show-35/

Remember, you can help parents by:

  • Talking to them about their relationships. Make sure they are aware that conflict can impact on their children and that there is help available. There is a toolkit and training to help you have these conversations at: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/betterrelationships
  • Signposting them to self-help. Our Hertfordshire webpage has information for parents about relationships, and where to go for local and online help: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/parentrelationships
  • Referring them to specialist support if they need it. Any professional or volunteer working with a family in Hertfordshire can refer parents to the Parenting Togetherwww.parentingtogethersupportprogramme.org.uk
  • programme. This provides free evidence-based parental conflict support to parents, whether they are together or separated. To find out more, go to:



    Parents to Register at the Family Centre

    The Family Centre Service is encouraging all parents of early years children to register at their Family Centre - please pass on this message to your families:

    Being a parent is great, and it is full on! How many times this week have you had to do the ‘dash’ so you can make it to nursery or work on time? As with most things in life, a few great contacts who can always point you in the right direction can really reduce the stress during your child’s early years. The Family Centre Service is a joint Hertfordshire County Council and NHS run service which is one of those great contacts. Some parents attend our free and low cost fun events regularly, from Stay and Plays and Baby Massage to Forest School or Beginners Bikes. Some parents dip in occasionally when they want some advice or reassurance about things like speech and language development, introducing solid foods, child health or issues with sleep. Some parents join us for adult learning sessions such as Paediatric First Aid or parenting workshops. Most of all, Family Centres are a great way to meet other young families in your local area.

    You can register with us now – just click on the link.


    Free Antenatal Courses for Hertfordshire

    Preparing for Baby is a 3 week course run by midwives, family support and health visitors.

    To get the most out of the Preparing for Baby course you will need to register with the Family Centre Service. To do this, please go to www.hertsfamilycentres.org  Family Centre Services specialise in early years and run a variety of activities for you to attend that will benefit you and your babies’ development and support your growing family. 


    Annual Health Checks - questionaire


    Mental Ill Health - Peer Support Service


    Gambling : A Big Deal


    Gamcare - Services in Hertfordshire

    The national charity GamCare recently presented at some of our district Families First Partnership meetings. Please see below for more information on their service:-



    GamCare is an independent charity and we are the leading provider of information, advice and support for anyone affected by problem gambling across England, Scotland and Wales. We offer a wide menu of free, flexible and confidential support to those affected by problem gambling. Last year, we supported more than 9,000 people through our treatment services, and received around 30,000 calls to our Freephone Helpline.

    Our team in Hertfordshire can support your clients to change their relationship with gambling and improve their quality of life through face to face, online and telephone therapeutic interventions. There is no wrong door to accessing our treatment services – clients can refer themselves, or you can do this on their behalf.

    GamCare can offer:

    • One to one telephone and live chat support, including brief interventions, through the National Gambling HelpLine on Freephone 0808 80 20 133 or via www.gamcare.org.uk (available 24 hours a day).
    • One-to one face-to-face, online and telephone therapeutic support and treatment for people with gambling problems as well as family and friends who are impacted by gambling.
    • Group based Gambling Recovery Courses delivered face to face or online for between six to eight weeks.
    • GameChange – an online treatment course for those who are concerned about their gambling behaviour, supported by regular contact with a GamCare therapist. The course has been designed so clients can work at their own pace, wherever is most convenient, over the course of eight weeks: www.gamcare.org.uk/self-help/gamechange/
    • Relapse Prevention support groups.
    • Self-help resources for people who would like to change their relationship with gambling, available to download via www.gamcare.org.uk/self-help/self-help-resources/
    • A moderated online Forum and daily online group chatrooms to enable those affected by gambling problems to connect with others in similar situations, share their experience and support one another.

    If you have any questions or would like to talk through some of these options, you can contact your local team on 01438 487003 or email hertfordshire@gamcare.org.uk. We are very happy to attend team briefings or training events to ensure your teams are confident to refer to our services.

    We can also provide your team with more in-depth training to help you identify people who may be experiencing gambling-related harms, provide structured brief interventions and refer into the most appropriate services. This training would be provided free of charge. If you would like any more information, please email Candice Donn, Head of Clinical Services, at candice.donn@gamcare.org.uk

    If you would also like to order free support leaflets and/or posters you can do this via our website at www.gamcare.org.uk/self-help/support-leaflets/


    Best Start Herts - Facebook Page

    Did you know that Hertfordshire has a Facebook page exclusively for Hertfordshire families? This page has been set up to provide key messages and support from pregnancy through the early years until your child starts school.

    Follow us on Facebook @beststartinherts for daily updates and messages or scan the QR code below.

    Volunteers Needed at Home Start

    Home Start have asked if we can share this with families:-

    Are you a mum, dad, grandparent or carer?hs2

    - Make a difference to the lives of parents and children

    - Enhance your well-being

    - Access free, high quality training

    Make their early years count

    Being a parent is hard for everyone; for some it can be overwhelming. Some of us have a fantastic support network of family and friends to help, some of us don’t.

    With your knowledge and experience as a mum or dad, grandparent or carer, you could be the vital support a family needs and make a big difference to their lives.

    If you could give as little as two hours a week to support a parent and their children, then please get in touch



    Emotional Wellbeing Masterclasses


    Upcoming dates:

    15/01/2020 - Otley Way Family Centre in South Oxhey - younger/primary age


    22/01/2020 - Otley Way - older/ secondary age


    29/01/2020 - Welwyn Community Hub – younger


    05/02/2020 - Welwyn Community Hub – older


    12/02/2020 - Crossbrook Family Centre, Waltham Cross – younger


    26/02/2020 - Crossbrook Family Centre – older


    18/03/2020 - Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation – younger


    25/03/2020 - Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation  - older


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