Solihull is to get to seven new family centres, offering health appointments, midwife and health visitor sessions and even playgrounds and youth clubs. The borough was awarded the cash through the Government’s £12m Family Hubs Transformation Fund.
The £1m funding will mean up to seven new hubs could be opened across Solihull, providing much needed support and services for families. Solihull council said the hubs are part of it’s “levelling up” strategy and will give children and families the best start in life through a ‘one-stop’ shop approach.
The new hubs will offer appointments with midwives and health visitors, social activities, support for parents, help for people with special educational needs and playgroups and youth clubs. They won’t open for another two years, but Councillor Tony Dicicco, cabinet member for adult social care and public health, told BirminghamLive they will be “spread out where they can do the most good.”
“Solihull basically gets left behind sometimes, there’s this perception that Solihull is an affluent area which is true in some areas but not others. We have some of the most deprived council wards in England” Cllr Dicicco said.
It won’t be until 2024 until we see the new hubs open, but Cllr Dicicco said it is all part of Solihull’s “levelling up” strategy. “It will be a question of spreading them out where they can do the most good, £1 million can be very useful, we can try and help as many families as possible.”
He could not be drawn on where the locations of the new hubs will be, but pledged that areas such as Chelmsley Wood, Smith’s Wood and Kingshurst will benefit. “We haven’t totally decided where they will go yet, we are looking for suitable premises for where they can go, we have target areas” he explained.
A hub will offer a whole range of activities under one roof for families with children and young people up to 19 years old, and up to 25 for young people with additional needs. They will also provide experts to help with debt, mental health issues and addictions as well as adult education.
“The hard part was getting the money, the less hard part is to spend it wisely” Cllr Dicicco said. The news was announced this week, as Solihull was one of the successful local authorities in bidding for the money.
“It’s great we have got this money, we’ve gone through a competitive process to get it, it’s testament to the dedication of officers at Solihull council. We are really really pleased.”
The government’s £12m Family Hubs Transformation Fund supports local authorities with the costs of moving to a family hubs model. The search is now on to find suitable sites in the heart of Solihull’s communities.