Families First News

Partner Service Update

Below are updates from countywide HCC teams and Partners, please email familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk if you would like to include your service on this page. (for local updates please visit the Local Update Pages)

Domestic Abuse Services

Family Centres

YC Hertfordshire

Health Visitors

Parenting Together Support Programme

Citizens Advice

Drug and Alcohol Services

Herts Sports Partnership

Money Advice

Mental Health Services

Gambling addiction

Herts for Learning


Families in Focus

Family Lives

Carers in Hertfordshire


Domestic Abuse Services

Across Hertfordshire, all domestic abuse services are still operating, and our top priority is to ensure victims get the support they need.

For frontline professionals and members of the public, all current services and referral routes into services remain the same. Our services have adapted the way they work to continue offering a service to victims, even during lockdown. View information on pathways


Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy (IDVA) Service

The IDVA service are continuing to offer support to all victims of domestic abuse around safety, security and well-being.  Refuges are still accepting victims into the accommodation and legal orders can still be applied for to protect victims from further abuse. 

If you have anyone needing advice and support please complete the referral form and return it to hertsIDVA@refuge.org.uk (duty) where the case will be allocated to an IDVA to provide advice and support.

The duty number is still available 0300 790 6772 which can be provided to the public to contact, this is for the Hertfordshire service (Monday to Friday 9-5). The 24hr helpline is still available 24/7 on 0808 2000 247.


Domestic Abuse Live Chat Launched by Safer Places

Safer Places have launched a new live chat service to support those experiencing, or at risk of abuse

The new service enables anyone experiencing abuse to chat directly with a member of the Safer Places team.

The new service will initially be open between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday and 8pm - 8am Fri - Sun 8pm - 8am 

Our emergency line will remain open 24/7 please call 03301 025 811 for more information about how to access our services.


Family Centres : Update from Family Support Service

During these times of uncertainty, we hope that you and your teams are keeping well.

As with many services across Hertfordshire, we too have reviewed our usual ways of working to ensure the health and safety of our teams and the families we support. 

We are however continuing to offer our services to families, with some small tweaks to how the 1:1 and group support is delivered – therefore, our referral pathway remains unaffected at this time.

Some of the changes that we have made include:

  • We are now providing the support, advice and guidance through telephone and video-calling where possible.
  • A new response approach has been developed for parents who are experiencing the most challenging situations at this time.
  • We are providing digital material on our Facebook and Instagram pages for ALL families to access at a time that suits them, such as home learning ideas and activities, Story Times and Rhyme Time sessions.  Families will just need to follow our pages.
  • Some families are receiving Parenting Group support through Zoom sessions, with more planned for the future.
  • Key information such as ‘Preparing for Baby’ antenatal support and Introduction to Solids advice and guidance is still available for families to access – they can book as usual through Eventbrite and will then be provided with details to our new platform where they can access the online video links. 
  • Families who were booked on to attend face to face sessions are being contacted directly to ensure that they receive the new online information
  • Future plans include developing digital material that supports all of our emerging needs offer, such as Early Talk and Oral Health.

If you know of a family who would benefit from some support, please contact the relevant Team Leader or Manager, prior to completing the referral form to discuss the family’s needs and the support available - Phone: 0300 123 7572. Alternatively you can refer the family directly: https://www.hertsfamilycentres.org/professionals-area/family-centre-professionals-area.aspx


Health Visitors :

For families with children aged under 5 and school nurses (for families with children aged 5-19) are still working. To get in touch please ring the duty line on: 0300 123 7572 Monday to Friday

The duty line is available to professionals and to families for advice and support.

Or go to the Family Centre Service website - https://www.hertsfamilycentres.org/family-centres.aspx

Two great links are: Health for Kids – local health services and advice for children aged 4 to 11 years old.

Health for teens – bite-sized info and advice for 11 to 19 year olds in Hertfordshire.


YC Hertfordshire - Support for young people during the coronavirus outbreak

YC Hertfordshire Services for Young People youth work projects in young people’s centres will be resuming in September 2020.

In addition to continuing many of our online group work sessions and one-to-one support via phone and email, our youth workers are providing street-based youth work and are delivering the Positive Alternatives Programme outdoors across Hertfordshire.

YC Hertfordshire Access Points have now re-opened. Get opening times and full details of your local Access Point here: YC Hertfordshire Access Points

I’ve sent you a link to the youth projects in each district that hopefully will be opening in the Autumn. What’s the best way to communicate this to families/professionals?

Youth projects for young people with learning disabilities : YC Hertfordshire runs projects across Hertfordshire specifically for young people with learning disabilities up to their 25th birthday. More information can be found here.


Parenting Together Support Programme

Important changes

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents us all with huge challenges in protecting ourselves and our families.

The providers of the Parenting Together Support Programme are continuing to offer therapeutic help by switching from face-to-face therapy to video based sessions until the current emergency is over.

We've switched to online referrals only at this time

As more practitioners are working from home and supporting families via video call/telephone, the online referral form will be the version to use from now on.  For more details on this and the difference in gaining consent, please follow this link



We're still here to help!

Click here to enter your postcode or town and find your local Citizens Advice and details of current opening hours and services.

As unemployment rises we are receiving an increasing number of queries re redundancy support. Please find attached a short information guide which we have put together and would be grateful if you could share as appropriate. Please let us know if you are aware of other support available which should be included in this document.


Herts Sports Partnership

You can view the latest news from Herts Sports Partnership here:- https://sportinherts.org.uk/news/


Drug and Alcohol Support

CGL Spectrum

Our recovery workers are offering support over the phone or you can contact CGL from 09:00 - 19:00 by phoning us on 0800 652 3169 or emailing Herts@cgl.org.uk. If you're worried about something, get in touch. www.changegrowlive.org/spectrum-hertfordshire-drug-alcohol-services

Help at home : Breaking Free Online is a free, online treatment and recovery program. It's for anyone addicted to alcohol or drugs. You can sign up to the treatment programme using the access code herts11.

Find the latest information on coronavirus on our information pages or the NHS website.

You can find local mutual aid support groups on this website


Resolve - Drug and alcohol Support

Resuming limited face to face groups, counselling, assessments and keywork from 1st September.

Risk assessments have been undertaken and we have found a way to work safely and within government guidelines.

Group numbers will be limited to 5 clients at a time, and only one facilitator. We have all the necessary safety measures in place, masks, sanitizer, social distancing etc.

Please see the timetable here. The groups in yellow are face to face, and we are still running Zoom for those that don’t feel they want to return just yet. We will be asking clients to register with which groups they wish to attend due to limited numbers, clients have to ensure they attend (or with valid reason not to attend) or they will be given 2 strikes, after which they will not be able to attend face to face, as we will be running a waiting list. Priority will be given to those on court orders or orders by Children’s Services. We aim to get all clients in at least 2 face to face a week.

Counselling and 121 work will take place in a different room where we can social distance.


Mental Health Services

The wide range of support for people who have mental health concerns includes:

· Herts Help – a signposting and advice service which can help direct people to the right support - 0300 123 4044 or email info@hertshelp.net
· Hertfordshire Mind Network crisis helpline – 01923 256 391
· NHS HPFT’s Single Point of Access - for people in a mental health crisis who live in Hertfordshire - 0300 777 0707 from 8am – 7pm, 01438 843322 out of hours or email: hpft.spa@nhs.net
· Samaritans - 116 123, 24 hours a day, every day
· The national NHS ‘Every Mind Matters’ website has expert advice and practical tips for people experiencing anxiety, low mood and sleep problems - https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/


Healthy Young Minds in Herts

The below website has a Professionals, Schools, Parents/ Carers and Young Persons section.  The schools section requires a log in and includes key training slides, lesson plans, resources, video clips, a Mental Health Leads toolkit and information about the Whole School & College Approach to Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health kitemark accreditation which is part of our ongoing offer to all Hertfordshire schools. COVID Pages have open access please see key links below. 

The website is updated on a regular basis in the current context



Herts Mind Network

Please see the current timetable and support services for anyone struggling with their mental health.

Their free one to one Peer Support service is also operating via telephone not face to face.

They have offices in Letchworth, Borehamwood, Watford, Hemel, Waltham Cross, Bishops Stortford and Borehamwood. They offer support to anyone living in Hertfordshire.


Mind in Mid Herts Service Update

Mind in Mid Herts are pleased to announce that they are providing another set of their online ‘Living Well’ Courses. These courses equip people with the understanding and tools that they need to manage their mental health in everyday life; covering how to deal with stress, anxiety, depression and sleep. Mind in Mid Herts’ Living Well courses are FREE to use and are run on Zoom over a four week period. For more information and to book onto the courses, visit their website: www.mindinmidherts.org.uk/training-and-workshops/courses-workshops/living-well/

We continue to take referrals and people can telephone 03303 208100 or self refer online www.mindinmidherts.org.uk

We have developed a program for social support on line. To access this service please go to our website or call 03303 208100

We have received funding that allows us to offer all our courses and workshops free of charge, people can register here https://www.mindinmidherts.org.uk/training-and-workshops/courses-workshops/living-well/ for:

  • Feeling well, to reduce feelings of depression and sadness
  • Building Courage, to manage anxiety
  • Learning to relax, coping with stress
  • Staying well at work
  • Sleep workshop

We also have free, live mindfulness sessions each day for our frontline workers and you can register if you are a carer, work in health, including pharmacies, social care, funeral directors and associated workforces that are supporting people in any way including as volunteers. Also included in this offer is the blue light services, please click on this link for more information - https://www.mindinmidherts.org.uk/home/training-support-for-front-line-workers/



We understand that many of our service users will be worried and concerned about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Please be assured that our services are still open, and we offer both telephone support and online support for anyone affected by problem gambling.

The National Gambling Helpline is open 24 hours every day on Freephone 0808 80 20 133, or you can live chat with us.

We appreciate that these are unusual times and for some people coping with the stress of this and self-isolation may increase urges to gamble. Please contact GamCare Hertfordshire for help and support if this is the case – we are here if you need us.

All new assessments for clients into GamCare Hertfordshire will be held over the phone. We will be in touch with all current clients to arrange ongoing telephone support. If you would like to have a chat about what might work best for you, please give us a call on 0143 848 7003.

If you would like to register for online (video) treatment please click here.

Our Forum is also available throughout the day and overnight to connect you to others in similar situations so that you can seek and share support. We are also providing chatroom sessions twice a day and are planning to increase these to provide additional support.

Additionally, our GameChange course is available for those who would like to work through an online course, supported by regular contact with a GamCare therapist.

We also have more information available on blocking software and self-exclusion, plus self-help resources: https://www.gamcare.org.uk/self-help/


Herts for Learning

Herts for Learning newsletters are now available to download.

Our newsletter for staff includes reviews and details about:

  • Look At Me, Teens sexting and risks – from internet.matters.org
  • Online blackmail - a new resource for 15-18 year olds from Thinkyknow
  • Be Internet Legends – the new RHSE curriculum resources from Google and Parent Zone
  • Online Resilience Tool – the new resource for professionals from HeadStart
  • Let’s talk about Porn -A teaching resource designed to educate young people about pornography from SWGfL
  • The Herts for Learning schools online safety model policy template, including online safety acceptable use agreements
  • Plus a selection of resources on safeguarding and remote education from the DfE, NSPCC and O2, National Cyber Security Centre, LGfL and others.

Our newsletter for parents and carers includes reviews and details about:

  • Parents and Carers Toolkit – from ChildNet
  • Connecting safely online – from Internetmatters.org
  • In-game chat: What parents and carers need to know – from Thinkuknow
  • BorrowBox – Free access to ebooks and audiobooks – from your local library service
  • O2 and NSPCC helpline and resources
  • Online safety videos - from Childnet
  • Protecting Personal Data – from National Online Safety

BorrowBox - Hertfordshire Libraries online library service!

All Hertfordshire Library members can access BorrowBox, allowing you to listen or read our online eBook and eAudiobook catalogue for free.

We have new releases of children’s fiction, adult fiction, biographies and non-fiction titles available to download on your phone, tablet or laptop.

For more information about how to access our online catalogue visit: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/libraries-and-archives/books-and-reading/ebooks-and-audiobooks/ebooks-and-audiobooks.aspx


Family Lives

Family Lives is a national support charity, providing help and advice to families who are going through a difficult time. Families contact us about all aspects of family life that include all stages of a child’s development, issues with schools and parenting/relationship support. We also respond when life becomes more complicated and provide support around family breakdown, aggression in the home, bullying, teenage risky behaviour and mental health concerns of both parents and their children. If you need support or advice, you can call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222, email us at askus@familylives.org.uk or visit our website www.familylives.org.uk for our forum community, online advice or to register for our monthly newsletter. Follow us on social media @FamilyLives for news and updates


Carers in Hertfordshire - Young Carers Team

As a proactive response  to the COVID19 virus to ensure that young carers who need additional practical or emotional support at this time are informed and receive emotional support for their own health and wellbeing we are offering keeping in touch calls.  We have been targeting also Young Carers that are the primary carer, where there is no other adult in the family home other than the cared for. We have been making Keeping In Touch calls to these families.

Professionals can still make referrals and we are offering virtual carers assessments instead of home visits.  

Activities that we offer can be found on our website www.ycih.org  or   www.carersinherts.org.uk

Young Carers team will continue to work closely with carers and their families who are struggling at this time and need additional support from them and or other agencies. 

DWP - Supporting jobseekers and claimants through social media

Jobcentre Plus is supporting jobseekers to prepare for and find work through Twitter. They can find local vacancies and join virtual jobs fairs, skills events and other online events on their local Jobcentre Plus Twitter account

If you work with jobseekers, please tell them about the Jobcentre Plus Twitter service. They do not need to register for a Twitter account to view the information.

If you would like to get involved with an online event, please send a Direct Message to your local Twitter account.

This service sits alongside the Find a job and job help websites.

Sign up to receive "Touchbase" the DWP monthly newsletter.



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