Families First News

The latest news

HAPpy : Hertfordshire's Holiday Activity Programme

This summer Hertfordshire County Council have joined forces with the Herts Sports Partnership to organise a huge programme of activity for the school holidays.

Activities will be running in different venues across the county for children and young people aged between 5-16 years with those in receipt of benefits-related free school meals eligible for free, and all include a nutritious meal each day.

Schools will have sent eligible parents their HAPpy booking code and booking link which is necessary to book on. 

Additionally, there are a range of fun online enrichment activities to look through, with ideas for learning more about arts and crafts, history, music and theatre, plus ways to keep your family active for 60 minutes each day! View these at https://www.sportinherts.org.uk/hafhappy

Lastly, this information page has links to a variety of organisations and advice families may find useful. Visit this at https://sportinherts.org.uk/happy/useful-local-services

Fit, Fed and Read

Herts School Partnership - Fit Fed and Read LogoHerts Sports Partnership are delighted to announce that Fit, Fed & Read Summer 2021 places are open for bookings. The registration process has changed to allow ease for parents and guardians to book their children on directly.

Parents and carers can visit the website here to register their child’s place, and they will be directed to Playwaze (the online booking system) where they can book their child in at a specific venue. When booking please use the code FFR2! to ensure a child’s free place.

They will be running from August 2nd to August 26th at usual times of 10am – 2pm Monday- Thursday, providing a free hot meal each day for every child.

Any questions please do not hesitate to contact : fitfedandread@herts.ac.uk.


Fire Cadets and the LiFE Project

What is the National Fire Cadets Scheme?

Fire Cadets is a nationally recognised educational programme open to young people aged from 14 to 17 years old

  • it supports young people to make a positive contribution to society
  • it provides an opportunity to learn about, engage with and experience the fire and rescue service
  • it enables young people to gain skills, knowledge and positive experiences in a fun, safe and secure environment
  • it supports young people to develop life skills, increase confidence and raise self-esteem
  • it inspires young people to make positive life choices for their future

Download the leaflet for more information

They are currently recruiting for new cadets to join their units and any enquiries please email: HFRS.Youth@hertfordshire.gov.uk 

What is the LiFE Project

The LiFE Project is a 5 day intensive course delivered by specially trained firefighters at fire stations across Hertfordshire.

Around 10-14 young people attend the week long course and take part in a series of specially designed challenges to address anti-social behaviours. The young people work
on improving their team skills, discipline and confidence.

Who is the LiFE course aimed at?

The course is for young people between the ages of 13-17 years of age who usually fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Received exclusions from school either permanently or temporarily
  • Problems at home or school
  • Easily led
  • Persistent offending/antisocial behaviours
  • Lack of self-esteem/confidence
  • Lack of rules/boundaries
  • Anger issues/confrontational
  • Victim of bullying/crime
  • History with fire

Download the leaflet for more information

LiFE courses currently planned for 2021 are:




Fire Station

Course Dates

Induction Evening
(dates may change)

October 2021


St Albans

4th - 8th October 2021

22nd September 2021




18th - 22nd October 2021

6th October 2021

November 2021



22nd - 26th November 2021

10th November 2021

 Make a referral

Wellbeing Guide for Young People

We were sent this very useful guide which is a great guide to local services, useful contacts, apps and webpages to support young people with their wellbeing and mental health.

This document can be shared with teams and with young people.

Henry Online Healthy Families Programme

The Henry Online Healthy Families Programme is an early intervention supporting families with children under 5 years to adopt healthier lifestyles.

The programme is completely free for families and runs online for 1 hour each week over 8 weeks. Over the 8 weeks, we cover the following topics using a partnership approach which is strengths based and solution focused.

  • Session 1: Let’s get started (what’s a healthy person? Goal setting)
  • Session 2: Balancing acts (balance of foods and looking after self in terms of ‘me’ time)
  • Session 3: Needs and demands- parenting strategies
  • Session 4: Tuning into mealtimes- healthy habits
  • Session 5: Time to be active
  • Session 6: Eating Healthily- lunchboxes, Portions and food labels
  • Session 7: Let’s focus on feelings (listening and empathy)
  • Session 8: The way forward (celebrating what parent have achieved and handing out certificates)

Please use link to review the flyer which has more information about the July programmes.

Please also click here to download the referral form which includes information about families who are eligible for the programme. 

Also please download this leaflet for more information on the North Herts free programme running this summer for families  with children under 12 years old

Youth projects in your area

Enabling young people to learn new skills, increase their knowledge and develop confidence, self-esteem and resilience.

For more information about SfYP including the local offer for young people and contact details for all the teams, please visit www.servicesforyoungpeople.org or email sfyp@hertfordshire.gov.uk

To contact individual teams:












Government Guidelines from the Supporting Families Newsletter

Summer holiday provision

The Government have launched a programme providing funding to secondary schools to deliver summer schools for some pupils. The guidance provided to schools for this programme suggests ways in which they can encourage vulnerable children and young people to attend. Where the children and young people that you work with are invited by their school to attend a summer school, they ask that you encourage them to attend, as you have been doing throughout this school year.

Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/summer-schools-programme/summer-schools-guidance

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

You, and the families you work with, may have some concerns about the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, due to the disruption the pandemic has caused in their education and daily lives.

The Government have published guidance for families on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes advice for parents as well as links to further resources which may be helpful.

Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Help promote the Parenting Together Programme

Do you manage social media accounts? Can you help promote the Parenting Together programme? If so can you post the text below on your channels?

"Arguments are a normal part of family life, but when we constantly argue it can be a sign that disagreements are not being solved in the best way.

  • Do you feel that you argue all the time?
  • Do you struggle to talk about how you feel?
  • Do you find it difficult to listen to the views of your partner/ex-partner?

The Parenting Together programme is currently being run online offering relationship support for Hertfordshire families. Trained therapists are able to work remotely and flexibly with Hertfordshire parents, at a time to suit them, whether it’s in the evening or in the daytime. Parents can apply for free support direct at https://www.tavistockrelationships.org/p-together or by calling 020 7380 1960"

Summer Reading Challenge 2021

Calling all Heroes!

Wild World Heroes, has now launched in all Hertfordshire libraries .This year The Reading Agency is working together with the WWF to inspire young  readers to stand up for our Planet!

We are inviting this year’s young readers to take on our Free Challenge and join the six  Wild World Heroes in the fictional town of ‘Wilderville’ where they have noticed some environmental problems in their town! Working together the six young heroes would like children to join their adventure and help them solve these problems.

To take part the children are challenged to read any six books. Our libraries have a ‘World Full’ of exciting books to read, including eBooks and eAudioBooks available on our libraries BorrowBox, so the children can have fun and go ‘Wild’ with their choices.

For every two books read, the children can collect stickers (some are scratch and sniff). Using the clues and the town map, they can help the heroes on their adventure through ‘Wilderville’ helping them solve the enviromental problems and  making it a better place for people and nature.

The challenge runs for the whole of the Summer holidays, all the children who finish the challenge by Saturday 4 September will receive a certificate, medal and a Wild Heroes Bookmark. So visit your local Hertfordshire Library and get your child signed up to their own environmental reading challenge, and become a Wild World Hero caring about their planet too.

For more details visit   www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/libraries , call 0300 123 4049

Follow us on www.facebook.com/hertslibraries

The Hertfordshire Bookstart annual report 2020-21 - children and books!

The Bookstart programme in Hertfordshire spreads the joy of reading together to thousands of families. ​Bookstart is funded by the charity BookTrust and its coordinated in Hertfordshire by the library service. The scheme brings together health visitors, family support centre teams, libraries and early years settings to encourage families to enjoy sharing books and rhymes with babies and young children.

Health visitor partners give out the Bookstart Baby bags to families with a new baby, helping to promote parent/baby bonding and supporting babies' brain and language development.

We gift the Bookstart Treasure packs through nursery classes, early years settings and childminders to encourage reading for pleasure – a key indicator for a child's success in later life. 

Family centres use the Bookstart Corner resources to promote the benefits of a quality home learning environment to help pre-school children build their speech, language & pre-reading skills and to become "school ready".

Libraries play a key role by offering engaging early years activities to draw families in, by promoting the positive impact of sharing rhymes and books with young children and by showcasing the wealth of quality picture books available for families to borrow.

The report is sent to BookTrust, to all our Bookstart partners and to County Councillors so they can see the impact of the Bookstart programme for families in Hertfordshire. Please do take a few minutes to read the Bookstart annual report 2020/21 and enjoy lots of pictures of children and books!

 Libraries and Heritage Services - HCC (hertfordshire.gov.uk)


Would you like help to Build Better Opportunities for Hertfordshire residents?

The Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme is Hertfordshire’s best kept secret. We aim to tackle the root causes of poverty and unemployment, such as physical or mental health issues, homelessness, addiction and much more.

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund, we have two great programmes that offer one-to-one mentorship for those who’d like it.

STRIVE in Hertfordshire focuses on offering support and transition routes into volunteering, training, and employment in Hertfordshire. We provide tailored support that works with the interests and needs or our participants, helping them to move into sustainable employment (or self- employment!), volunteering, training, or education.

Herts Youth Futures supports young people by helping them improve employability and enter training or work. Youth Futures mentors guide participants through the many skills and learning opportunities available through the programme, helping them gain work experience placements, volunteering opportunities, apprenticeships, employment, or self- employment.

Want to know more? Here’s what people are saying about the BBO.

“Being on the BBO has been a life changing experience for me. Through this project, I have a new job that I am passionate about.”

“My BBO journey has helped me to deal with some of my ongoing conditions and difficulties. I have met lots of wonderful people and built new friendships. I’ve learnt to value the little things and live in the moment and take note of that moment. I still have a long way to go as I often have setbacks but I am continuing with my studies so I can make an impact and help others in the future. I enjoy volunteering at the Hub and sharing my learning”.

If you would like more information on the BBO, visit our website at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/BBO



Free Antenatal Courses for Hertfordshire

Preparing for Baby is a 3 week course run by midwives, family support and health visitors.

To get the most out of the Preparing for Baby course you will need to register with the Family Centre Service. To do this, please go to www.hertsfamilycentres.org  Family Centre Services specialise in early years and run a variety of activities for you to attend that will benefit you and your babies’ development and support your growing family. 


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