Parents, carers and families urged to help shape new model of community-based support.
Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHC) has been successful in its bid to deliver the new Birmingham early years health and wellbeing service in partnership with Barnardo’s, Spurgeons Children’s Charity (Spurgeons), St Paul’s Community Development Trust and Springfield Project.
The new service, commissioned by Birmingham City Council, will bring together the current health visiting service and children’s centres, creating local ‘early years hubs’ where families can access the help they need from pregnancy until their child starts school.
The service is designed to provide all families of pre-school children with accessible, community-based services in their own homes, GP surgeries, children’s centres and a number of other community venues, with extra help available to those that need it.
The service will:
• support children to lead healthy lifestyles with advice on healthy diet and staying active
• ensure children develop well physically, emotionally and socially
• help keep children safe
• advise families on parenting and emotional wellbeing and offer extra family support when situations are challenging.
• support communities to develop accessible services that families really want by creating opportunities to listen to local people and develop new services together.
The views of parents and carers across the city will play a crucial part in designing a service that is for, in and of each community and capable of meeting particular local needs. To ensure everyone has the opportunity to have their say, a major public consultation is due to be launched on Monday, 19 June.
Gareth Howells, nursing and therapies director at Birmingham Community Healthcare, said:
“As a partnership of organisations currently delivering services in the city, we look forward to continuing our work with pre-school children and their families in communities throughout Birmingham. We are very pleased that we are to continue providing a universal service to all pre-school children in the city, supporting all aspects of health and wellbeing for the child and their family.
“The partnerships we are forming are designed to broaden that offer and give us greater capability to respond quickly to additional issues and needs as appropriate in individual cases.
“Our aim is to ensure that all of Birmingham’s children are healthy, happy and well prepared to start school, helping to fulfil Birmingham City Council’s vision “to give every child in Birmingham an equal chance to have the best start in life so they can achieve their full potential”.
Jane Middleton, assistant director of children’s services for Barnardo’s Midlands and South West, said:
“Barnardo’s has a long history of supporting families across Birmingham. We are delighted that this new contract will enable us to work with even more children, young people and families during the crucial early years and beyond, enabling them to fulfil their potential.
“Our staff will work alongside partners to provide a wide range of intensive support including parenting programmes, help for parents with mental health problems, and groups for women suffering domestic abuse.
“We particularly want to reach out to vulnerable families who, for whatever reason, haven’t previously accessed any of the services available to them.”
Ross Hendry, Chief Executive of Spurgeons Children’s Charity, said:
“We are delighted to be part of the partnership that will take forward support for young families across Birmingham.
“Spurgeons has a strong record of running projects across the city, delivering real benefits for local children and families by working at the heart of their communities.
Through the care and expertise of our staff and partners, we hope to give hope to every child for an equal chance in getting the best start in life and for their future”.
St Paul’s Trust chief executive David Cusack said:
“We at St Paul’s are proud to be member of a partnership that will deliver high quality services to children and families. We look forward to working with colleagues who have a range of expertise and are all focussed on giving children the best possible start in life.”
The Springfield Project chief executive officer Sarah Robbins said:
“The Springfield Project is delighted to be part of this successful partnership which will deliver services to the youngest members of our city and their families. We look forward to working with partners, colleagues and with local communities to ensure that Birmingham’s children receive the support that they need to have the best start in life. We want all of Birmingham’s children and families to have the opportunity to live life to the full.”
Councillor Brigid Jones, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for children, families and schools, said:
“We need to target services towards those children and families that need them the most, and where they need them most. So rather than focussing on bricks and mortar we need to make services available at places children and families use the most – for example, having access points in GP surgeries.
“The new system will provide a far more integrated service, so instead of having 76 different contracts, creating a widely differing service depending on where you live, there will be one contract with Birmingham Community Healthcare.”