Families First News

Front page - Welcome

Welcome to our School Holiday edition

Dear partners and colleagues,

Welcome to the latest edition of Families First News and as we approach the end of the summer term we have kept this edition focused on the school holidays with information about the Hertfordshire's Holiday Activity Programme (HAPpy), Fit, Fed and Read, along with information on the Fire Cadets and LiFE project. In addition, please take a look at the Wellbeing Guide for Young People and Henry Online Healthy Families Programme.

We have also being promoting the Parenting Together Programme, which offers 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. If you manage social media accounts for your service, could you help with promoting this programme? Find out more here.

Don't forget to keep your eye on Learning and Development section and Workforce Development page on the portal.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Families First News and please encourage your teams to sign up to receive their own copy!

As always, please do let us have your comments and suggestions for what you would like included in future editions by emailing familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

Happy reading and enjoy the sunshine !

Kind regards 
The Development Team

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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. 


Learning & development

Workforce development

The vision for Families First training and development is to create a skilled, confident and resilient multi-agency workforce that supports whole family working.
To support this, we have brought together training courses that are available to practitioners across Hertfordshire. We aim to add new resources to this page when available and we have recently added some resources on Trauma Informed practice. Please take a look at the page, bookmark and share with teams, where appropriate.

Workforce development (hertfordshire.gov.uk)

HSCP Learning & Development Programme

Summer Newsletter

The HSCP/HSAB Summer 2021 Newsletter is now available on the HSCP website – Newsletter Summer 2021

The Neglect Hub

Following the virtual launch of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership’s Neglect Strategy and Joint Campaign with the NSPCC, please see below a link to the Neglect Hub on the HSCP website. The resources available are as follows:

  • Neglect Strategy 2021-24
  • Practice Guidance
  • Neglect Strategy Toolkit
  • Link to the Graded Care Profile tool
  • The presentations from the launch by Dez Holmes, NSPCC and Operations Director, Matt Ansell
  • Posters

Neglect Hub Edge Browser

Neglect Hub Explore Browser

Year of Learning

Information for professionals and volunteers | Hertfordshire County Council

June 2021 : Harmful Sexual Behaviours 7 minute briefing

May 2021: Female Genital Mutilation 7 minute briefing

Difference we're making

Families First - Performance Data Report

You may be interested to view our Families First Performance Data report for the period April 2020 - March 2021.

The report looks at Families First Assessments that took place within the period and highlights the presenting needs and outcomes broken down by district along with information about other support for families.


Local area news

Local News Bulletin

June 2021

We are collating the updates we receive for local services into a local news bulletin. If you would like to include your service update/news, please email familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

East Herts

St Albans




Watford & Three Rivers


Welwyn Hatfield

North Herts


Download the Building Better Opportunities (BBO) leaflet here

CHEXS Family Support Team
Our Family Support team are #hereforyou and available for our Parent Virtual Chats (Every Tuesday at 10am), parenting support, advice, tips and SO much more.
Here's what our Family Support Team can help you with, we're just a phone call or email away and we're ready to help

Herts Mind Network

The Community Support Service (CSS) is a mental health outreach service run by Herts Mind Network and in partnership with local councils. CSS currently operates in Watford, Three Rivers, Hertsmere and Broxbourne.

The service is for adults age 18 plus and delivers one to one holistic , practical and emotional support with a range of issues.  These include coping strategies and developing emotional resilience. Support with housing, benefits and debt. Support around drug and alcohol abuse and supporting parents who may be on a child protection, child in need plan or family support plan. Mental health should be the primary need.

For any referral enquiries please contact css@hertsmindnetwork.org

East Herts

Citizens Advice East Herts - Service Update

As an advice service our focus is on making sure people are able to access the support they need in a way that works for them and we've found many people like being able to access us remotely. As lockdown restrictions lift we won't be going back to a 'drop in' service from our offices which only worked for a minority. Instead we'll operate our service across multiple channels, helping people by phone, email, webchat, video and online. We'll continue to offer home visits and in person appointments in community locations to those who need them. This short video (1.5 minutes) explains more. For more details on our services and how to access them please visit https://citizensadviceeastherts.org.uk.

CVS for Broxbourne & East Herts latest e-bulletin can be viewed here

Frontline: View the East Herts Frontline - library of services

Welwyn Hatfield

Citizens Advice Welwyn Hatfield - Service Update 

Now that lockdown is easing, we’re seeing a lot more clients at Citizens Advice Welwyn Hatfield who are running into trouble as we progress through these difficult times. We’re sure your service users are experiencing the same problems.

We are continuing to offer help via telephone, videocall, email and webchat. We also have services that specialise in helping people apply for benefits, such as Universal Credit, and foodbank vouchers as well as offering advice through British Sign Language.

We’ve developed a new website so that potential clients can access all the information about our services more easily. We’re rather proud of it and we’d be delighted, if you’d share it with your service users.

We’re particularly pleased with our videocall facility. Your service users can drop into a virtual reception from the comfort of their own home, or when they’re on the go, and be seen by an adviser. All they have to do is visit www.cawelhat.org.uk/services/v/16-virtual-drop-in/ and click on the link. If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact us.  

Welwyn & Hatfield - Healthy Hub Bulletin (June 2021)

Please click on the link below to the June’s Healthy Hub Bulletin, which includes information about Carers week and Men’s Health week.

Monthly Healthy Hub Bulletin Issue N022 June 2021 - Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council - Working better, together (welhat.gov.uk)

North Herts

Please download the BeeZee Bodies leaflet on the North Herts free programme running this summer for families  with children under 12 years old

Watford & Three Rivers

South West Herts Partnership Newsletter (May 2021)

Please click on the following links to find copies of the newsletter and calendar of events from the South West Herts Partnership.  

Services for Young People

Services for Young People (SfYP) are delivering a number of FREE Summer holiday programmes to support young people aged 13-16 who are currently in receipt of free school meals (FSM). For delivery information in other districts please click here.

Herts Mind Network

The Community Support Service (CSS) is a mental health outreach service run by Herts Mind Network and in partnership with local councils. CSS currently operates in Watford, Three Rivers, Hertsmere and Broxbourne.

The service is for adults age 18 plus and delivers one to one holistic , practical and emotional support with a range of issues.  These include coping strategies and developing emotional resilience. Support with housing, benefits and debt. Support around drug and alcohol abuse and supporting parents who may be on a child protection, child in need plan or family support plan. Mental health should be the primary need.

For any referral enquiries please contact css@hertsmindnetwork.org



As you may or may not know, the Stevenage and North Herts IFST team have set up a running club every Wednesday. We have decided to run the race for life in September to raise money for Cancer Research. Please take a look at our team fundraising page and donate anything you can - https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/intensive-steppers. I would also appreciate it if you could forward on to anyone you think might be interested in sponsoring us too.

‘Following a year of isolations, separations and disconnections, we as a team have found joy in running, walking and jogging together once a week, creating the Intensive Steppers Running Club. With differing aims and abilities, we have supported each other to build on both our physical and emotional wellbeing and leave every week with a sweaty group selfie and a huge smile on our faces. It has also created a new catch phrase for the team… ‘Don’t forget your kit!’.

Like everyone these days, cancer is a prominent and ongoing feature in many of our lives and has touched us all, both personally and with the families we support through our work. We have decided to complete this race for life to raise money to support the vital research and support for cancer sufferers and their families.

It has been a challenging year for everyone, but within our team it has shown our strength and compassion for one another. We remain, as we have always described ourselves, a family. As a family we plan to take on this challenge, smiling throughout.’


  • Splash park reopening Gadebridge - Splash Park will be re-opening on Monday 14 June. Sessions must now be booked in advance for a maximum of 4 people per booking: https://www.dacorum.gov.uk/home/leisure-culture/parks-play-and-open-spaces/gadebridge-park-hemel-hempstead/gadebridge-park-attractions
  • Virtual Wellness Festival – a variety of videos with advice, information and activities on different health and wellbeing topics by local organisations and providers. Videos will remain on our Active Dacorum YouTube Channel and further information can be found on our festival webpage: www.dacorum.gov.uk/wellnessfestival
  • Wake Up and Dance! – 10 mins of good tunes and dancing on Zoom for all ages each weekday morning to get people active and connected, run in partnership with BEEE Creative and Dacorum Community Dance. For more info and to register visit:  http://beee-creative.co.uk/wp/2021/02/25/wake-up-and-dance/
  • Armed Forces Day – for children/families/schools: Michael Morpurgo online event.  He will be talking about War Horse and his new book Farm Boy on-line with schools 11am on Tuesday 22nd June 2021, this will be suitable for years 4-9.  There is a ticket cost for individuals booking but schools can join the event for free. To book visit www.tringbookfestival.co.uk.  Other Armed Forces Day activities are listed here: https://www.dacorum.gov.uk/home/community-living/armed-forces-covenant/armed-forces-day-2021
  • Fun Palace – a day of free community activities taking place on weekend of 2nd & 3rd October. This will comprise of a mix of online and in-person smaller activities taking place around the borough (COVID permitting!). If any organisations/practitioners have an activity or workshop session they would like to run, please get in touch. There is small budget to help towards the cost of running an activity. Email active@dacorum.gov.uk for details or visit https://funpalaces.co.uk/fun-palace/dacorum-fun-palace/#fp-description
  • Workshops for young people this autumn – last year we planned to run a Beatboxing Project for young people that had to be cancelled due to COVID. We are now looking at running a few workshops with the same artists this autumn, who run a very successful Beatboxing Academy in South London. The workshops may not be Beatboxing (the nature of this is not particularly COVID-safe due to the spitting involved!), however possibly rapping or music/performance related.  If you have a group of young people who may benefit from these workshops and working with these brilliant South London artists, please get in touch. We are also looking to deliver these as pilot workshops for a possible larger project at a later date, in consultation with the young people taking part: Email annie.smith@dacorum.gov.uk
  • COVID recovery fund - This is a one off fund for Community and Voluntary organisations which have been directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund will cover issues that have previously been excluded from funding, such as core costs. Groups can apply for up to £5000.  For more information and to apply, visit: http://www.dacorum.gov.uk/home/community-living/voluntary-organisations-social-enterprises/grants

Community Action Dacorum have another couple of courses that may be of interest to some of your families. One of the courses is an employability course, the other a healthy eating one.  They are both online, and currently free to anyone living in Hertfordshire. See attached flyers for more details.

Cook Well Eat Well: Enrol here: https://forms.gle/Hqf4WqNw6Y5Ukxzt6

Pathways to Employment: Enrol here: https://forms.gle/3Q2KTzZnwdCG3Gd28


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