September 2020

Families First News

Local area news

St Albans and Dacorum District Bulletin

St Albans and Dacorum - News Bulletin

Updated September 2020

We are collating the updates we receive for the services into district bulletins. If you would like to include your service update/news for this area please email and please put "Newsletter update" in the subject box, thank you.

For countywide updates, please also visit our Partner Updates page.

Healthy Hub Dacorum

The Healthy Hub Dacorum has recently launched as a one stop shop for residents, aiming to provide guidance on the services that will support their health and wellbeing needs. The Healthy Hub will help people on a variety of issues such as mental health, weight management, financial or housing advice, unemployment and family conflict. As we are expected to run virtually until 2021, recently the Healthy Hub has introduced an online enquiry form on our website for our clients to get in contact. This is so we can provide our services users with advice and support on the local health and wellbeing services within Dacorum. Currently our form will run as a signposting service but we hope to develop referral pathways with our partners.

Whilst we transition out of lockdown, we are also developing partnerships to create strong physical centres within Hemel Hempstead, Tring and Berkhamsted, which will allow us to provide face to face support albeit in a safe environment. We are also working with local charities and companies to develop new services that will aim to support people throughout Dacorum.

Please visit Healthy Hub Dacorum for more information

Hertfordshire Family Centre - Family Support, St Albans

  • St Albans Family Support Team are currently offering telephone and email support. We are continuing to accept referral for most of our packages of support that are able to be delivered over the phone if the family are in agreement. If the family would prefer to wait until staff can deliver the support on a face to face basis we can offer wellbeing calls, weekly or more frequently if they would prefer. We are also able to offer an Emergency Response package which means that rather than delivering a specific support package we can pick out elements of different packages to meet the families immediate needs. The Early Start team are continuing to provide telephone support with breastfeeding, introducing solid food and they are facilitating baby sing and play sessions through Zoom. These are bookable through Eventbrite but there are some targeted spaces for our more vulnerable parents. We are able to signpost families for support with shopping, collecting medication, accessing foodbanks, wellbeing etc.
  • The Family Support Team are currently organising a Family Toolkit Course to be facilitated via Zoom.
  • We have resources we can email out to families and talk through with them over the phone, to support with routines, boundaries and behaviour, emotional wellbeing or activities they can use to keep their children busy while they are not in school.
  • We continue to work closely with our PHN colleagues and are having weekly Family Matters meetings to ensure regular communication between our services

  • Dacorum Family Support Team are continuing to accept referrals for both targeted one to one work and for parenting programmes.  We are currently offering telephone and email support and are also looking into delivering our packages of work virtually using Microsoft Teams.
  • We are now accepting referrals for a virtual Family Toolkit, the first four week course starts on Wednesday 3rd June. This course is aimed at parents with 2-5 year olds. It gives ideas and strategies to manage behaviours including Praise, Choices and Consequences and Communication.
  • The Early Start team are continuing to provide telephone support with breastfeeding, introducing solid food and are facilitating Baby Sing and Play, Rhyme Time and Story sessions through Zoom. Families can also access Facebook Live and Instagram Live sessions. They will also be offering some targeted sessions on Zoom like Baby Massage, Early Talk and Little Learners. Families can be referred onto these with an emerging needs referral.
  • Both Family Support and Early start have been busy contacting all families that are registered with the Family Support Service to identify whether they need any support during this time and we have been signposting to relevant services.
  • We have resources we can email out to families and talk through with them over the phone, to support with routines, boundaries and behaviour, emotional wellbeing or activities they can use to keep their children busy while they are not in nursery or school.

Our Facebook page is full of advice, ideas and sessions so keep an eye out.

YC Hertfordshire - Youth Work

The Youth Work Team have had a very busy summer with 1:1 support for young people and online groups for the most vulnerable and also catering for young people in localities. We have also carried out a significant amount of detached youth work, that is workers engaging with young people on the streets, in parks and open spaces, spreading the message of social distancing and signposting young people to ways they could get more support from YC Hertfordshire during the lockdown period.

During the month of August we also delivered the Positive Alternatives Programme, which addressed personal safety, healthy relationships, effects of knife crime on communities, as well as a sports/arts component. This was very well received by young people and will also give us a foundation of attendees for our Autumn term youth projects, which are scheduled to be back in buildings, albeit, with reduced numbers. Normally over the summer, we would deliver the National Citizens Service (NCS), 4 week personal development programme to approximately 550 young people across St Albans and Dacorum. NCS did go ahead in both districts but to a much reduced cohort and without the two five day residentials.

The Youth Work Team are now in the process of finalising the autumn offer, which in some instances will have a mix of face to face and online youth work. Our buildings have been risk assessed and are Covid-19 compliant in terms of health of safety and our start date for young people is now week commencing 21 September.

We are working with schools to decide how we can support the reintegration of young people returning after such a long period of time away.

For information or further details, please contact:

Information, Advice and Guidance and Work Related Learning Team

The Information, Advice and Guidance team have been working hard since the commencement of lockdown and over the summer to deliver advice and guidance virtually and by phone to young people across the double district area. They have also been delivering a bespoke virtual programme called ‘Pathways to Success’ to young people identified as being at risk of becoming NEET or those who are NEET (not in employment, education and training) to over 25 young people.

This term sees the start of School returns and the team are working closely with their allocated schools to ensure careers guidance is delivered to all students identified by their schools. The majority of advisers are returning to deliver face to face work in schools, whilst some are starting the term delivering virtual and telephone guidance.

The Pathways to success programme is now moving into the final quarter of this year and will be working with over 30 young people through October to December both face to face and virtually for which referrals are now open and can be made by contacting Bex Perry- Team Leader directly. The PTS programme aims to support young people into positive employment, education and training outcomes and includes CV writing, skills and qualities, personal branding and mock interviews over a 2 week course. Each young person involved then receives up to 6 months one to one support tailored to their needs.

The work related learning team have also been working with local employers to plan the re-commencement of work experience for 2020-2021 and have been in contact with many employers to secure placements for this academic year.

We are now offering face to ace appointments with our Personal Advisers and Employment and Training Advisers Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 2pm- 5pm in St Albans at Catherine Street Access Point and in Dacorum at Hemel Hempstead Young Peoples Centre, Jarmans Park. Appointment can be made by calling 01442 454060.

For any further information on the support provided by the St Albans and Dacorum IAG and WRL Team please contact:

We are also developing promotional material including a text message service for young people, parent/carers and schools to use during COVID-19 where they can access advice and guidance from a qualified personal advisor.

The team are also delivering a fantastic virtual pathways programme for young people who have been identified as at risk of not being in education, employment or training or those are currently NEET.

We have received some fantastic feedback from young people, professionals and parents carers during this time and will continue to work hard to provide support to young people during this challenging time.

Download the St Albans and Dacorum leaflet here

Citizens Advice

To comply with measures to prevent transmission of Covid 19 Citizens Advice St Albans District has suspended face-to-face advice services in the St Albans Civic


There are a number of ways people can continue to get advice during this time.

  1. Call 01727 811118, advisers are waiting to provide advice, from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Thursday and 10-1 Friday.
  2. Visit for local webchat and email advice
  3. Call Hertfordshire Adviceline service, on 03444 111 444, or 03000 3300 650 from a mobile.
  4. Visit the Citizens Advice website at for advice and to chat online to an adviser
  5. Get help with a new claim for Universal Credit by calling the Universal Credit Help to Claim line on 0800 1448444.
  6. Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133, or chat online to an advisor on our website, for advice on consumer issues (e.g. issues related to products or services you've purchased).

The CA are keen to hear from families who need help to reduce energy bills / write off fuel debts / make energy efficiency improvements.  Please see this Energy Flyer for more information. 


We will endeavour to minimise the impact on our clients by implementing the following service continuity arrangements.

  1. Referrals and Advice: The Gateway remains open for referrals to our service
  2. Admissions: All potential admissions to refuge will continue as long as we have space, it meets referral criteria, and the potential client is not displaying symptoms, has not returned from an affected area, and as long as the accommodation remains virus free. Referrals go through the Gateway as usual.
  3. Community: All our existing clients are receiving on-going support by phone. Existing clients have the contact number for their worker. New referrals will receive support and advice and can be referred through the Gateway.
  4. Programmes: All Triple R programmes have been suspended until further notice. New referrals are being taken and these clients will receive telephone support and advice until the programmes resume.


    • Managers Liz Perry 07501 150068
      Gateway 0330 102 5811
      Sara Jackson: 07501 492063

    Please use the normal e mail addresses to Managers. They will be available during their normal working hours.

    We appreciate that this is an evolving situation and therefore will continue to communicate any further changes to partners and colleagues as they arise.

    Caring Dads Programme

    Due to the Covid-19 crisis and current lockdown / social distancing rules, HACRO’s normal delivery of the Caring Dads programme will be temporarily suspended as from 1st May. Any enquiries or referrals received after this date will be filed for processing once ‘normal’ service is resumed. Our hope is that we may restart our courses from September 20. In the meantime HACRO is looking into the possibility of delivering a Helpline service for dads. Once it is ready it will be advertised on the HACRO website – - and the Herts Parenting Directory. Given reduced staffing it would be appreciated that you do not contact the HACRO office direct for information until such time as the website indicates that the Helpline service is up and running. I will contact you all again once I return from my furlough to resume the regular work on the main Caring Dads programme.


    DWP have nationally received an increase in claims of 1.5 million since March, with a decreasing workforce, due to the coronavirus situation, there has been a call for everyone to upskill and change job role to process claims. We have 10,000 corporate colleagues also training to process claims to deal with the huge increases we are receiving. We have also established an amazing turnaround in deploying IT to our colleagues working from home.

    We have streamlined the claiming process, to make it easier for our claimants to verify their ID and be able to apply for an advance payment on their claim.

    All of our processes have been updated to accommodate the situation using a “Trust and Protect” system of verifying evidence over the phone.

    Claimant Commitments have been switched off for the time-being as we are not expecting our claimants to be looking for work due to the isolation and social distancing guidelines. This situation will be reviewed accordingly and we hope to be in a better place soon to start looking at further support for our claimants and using the digital services of our providers and partners.

    We have increased UC awards by £20 per month for a year to help our claimants financially, this is an increase in addition to the annual increase.

    In these challenging times we have been able to achieve 93% of payments on time and in full.


    DSPL 8 would like to thank all staff in our school settings for their continued care and support for children and families of Dacorum in the midst of COVID-19. The impact of juggling work commitments and having children at home makes this a particularly challenging time. Staff are invited to attend a series of six virtual sessions to support you to help your own children build resilience to deal with uncertainty whilst staying alert and adapting to new routines during this unprecedented period.

    For more information and to book your place, please click on the following link -

    Dacorum Borough Council - useful links for activities

    Arts and culture

    Herts Year of Culture – countywide activity:

    Herts Year of Culture  - Dacorum activity:

    Electric Umbrella – inclusive music charity offering a programme of online music activities ‘EUTV’

    Herts Inclusive Theatre –live and interactive activities online including drama, yoga and games/arts & crafts

    Sport and Physical Activity

    Herts Disability Foundation Online Activity Sessions:

    Herts Sports Partnership – Work out from Home Platform:

    Active Dacorum

    Active Dacorum Facebook:

    Active Dacorum Twitter:



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