Mums playing with their children at a Stay and Play session at Somerstown Family Hub

Home-Start Portsmouth will support more families through the city’s network of Family Hubs, thanks to a new contract with Portsmouth City Council.

The local charity has won a two-year contract to deliver the Best Start for Life programme, to provide extra support for parents, carers and children.

The ambition is for the city’s five Family Hubs to become a ‘one-stop shop’ for local families, offering everything they need under one roof, including:

• More stay-and-play sessions for under 5s
• Wider health services such as midwifery, health visiting and mental health support
• Help for new and expectant parents to develop their practical parenting skills
• A family hub champion in each hub, offering advice and signposting to further support
• A new Virtual Family Hub, where parents can get support online

Parents and carers can find out more about how to book the new sessions and the support available on Home-Start Portsmouth’s website www.hsportsmouth.org.uk or by emailing office@hsportsmouth.org.uk or calling 023 9273 4400.

Free online courses are also available for parents, carers, grandparents and teens living in Portsmouth, available in over 100 languages and available to book on the Virtual Family Hub website.

The Best Start for Life programme will be led by Home-Start Portsmouth and jointly delivered as a group consisting of The Parenting Network, The Breast-Feeding Network, Portsmouth Parent Board, and Portsmouth Parent Voice.

Home-Start Portsmouth is a voluntary organisation committed to promoting the wellbeing of families and children under the age of 5 in Portsmouth. The charity provides emotional and practical support for families with trained volunteers and experienced coordinators.

Jo Toms, Chief Executive Officer at Home-Start Portsmouth, said:

“The early years have the biggest influence in a child’s life, with the first 1001 days being most important for a child’s development and outlook throughout their life. Those first five years will shape the next 50, so it’s imperative we get it right.

“We’ve been supporting families for over 30 years now and it really is the crux of what we do. Our vision is to leave no child without and to give families the nurturing support and tools to thrive in life.

“We are beyond thrilled to have won this contract and we are so pleased we can continue to work with Portsmouth City Council and Solent NHS Trust to make a positive difference to families across the city.”

The Best Start for Life programme is funded through a national £300 million government investment, with Portsmouth being one of 75 locations to benefit.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council, said:

“I am delighted that Home-Start will be leading the Best Start in Life programme here in Portsmouth. The experienced and knowledgeable team, who are often parents themselves, will add to and significantly improve the services our Family Hubs already do brilliantly. This expansion will close gaps in the support we offer and provide personalised care and advice for parents and carers in our communities.”

There are five Family Hubs in Portsmouth offering support to families with children aged 0-19: Buckland, Milton Park, Northern Parade (Hilsea), Paulsgrove and Somerstown.