Families First News

Front page - Welcome


Dear Partners,

Welcome to the latest edition of Families First News and we hope you are all enjoying the longer days and seeing the lovely blossom and spring flowers after what felt like such a long winter.

Again, we have lots of good information to bring you to help support the families of Hertfordshire. But firstly, we would like to say a few well-deserved congratulations:-

  • We are delighted that the Young Carers Service at Carers in Herts has been recognised with a national Children and Young People Now Award. Read more here
  • We are delighted to celebrate the graduation of 13 Supporting Families staff, having completed their Working With Parents Level 4 qualification. Read more here
  • A HCC Money Advice Unit project received ‘highly commended’ in national awards. Read more here

In other news, the HAPpy Easter Holiday camp bookings are going well and you can find out more about where camps are taking place here and you can find out more about ARFID, the Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder eating disorder and support available, along with many other useful articles.

Please also don't forget to take a look through our Learning and Development articles to see what is available for you and your teams.

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.

Thank you for reading,

Kind regards 

The Development Team

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The latest news

Working Together in Early Help : SEND Themed Events

Our Families First "Working Together in Early Help" events are a great opportunity to meet up and network with other local professionals and at the same time learn from new services across Hertfordshire. They are held twice yearly across the county and our summer events will be focused on SEND support.

More information will follow, but in the meantime, you can book your place here:- www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/earlyhelpevent

Easter Happy Programme

Hertfordshire County Council is once again launching its free Easter activity camps for children and young people in Hertfordshire.

Fully funded holiday activity camps return for the Easter break, providing eligible children and young people with the chance to meet friends, learn new skills and enjoy nutritious food.

The HAPpy programme is funded by Hertfordshire County Council and the Department of Education (DfE) via the government’s Holiday Activity and Food programme and coordinated by Herts Sport and Activity Partnership and the Hertfordshire Community Foundation.

Bookings are now open via the Herts Sport and Physical Activity Partnership’s website:  https://bit.ly/HBL1BookHAPpy

Hertfordshire schools are now giving out booking codes to families of eligible children. Parents/carers who have not received the code should contact their school office or email haf@herts.ac.uk.

Healthier Together Spring 2024 – newsletter

We thought we would share a very informative spring newsletter from the Hertfordshire and West Essex (HWE) Healthier Together website which can be accessed on the following link:  HWE Healthier together spring newsletter.

The HWE Healthier Together website provides parents and professionals information on a range of childhood illnesses, all in one place. It is developed by trusted health experts. The newsletter is designed to keep professionals up to date on changes and improvements to the website, including new pages and seasonal health topics, to help with signposting the healthier together website to families.

Our Spring edition includes information on:

  • Pharmacy First
  • Measles
  • Managing allergies and hay fever
  • Asthma friendly schools
  • Eating well
  • Exercise and physical activity.
  • Childhood vaccination
  • Health for young people
    • Mental wellbeing
    • Exam stress

The last page is a spring poster that can be printed and displayed in receptions and waiting rooms. This can also be sent to you separately if you email hweicbenh.cypteam@nhs.net.

We hope you find it useful. Please share amongst your teams. We would love to hear your feedback on our newsletter. Please email us at hweicbenh.cypteam@nhs.net with any comments or suggestions.


It’s Not Just “Fussy” Eating: Raising Awareness of ARFID

The 4.5% of children and teenagers* labelled as “persistent picky eaters” could have an undiagnosed eating disorder, according to NHS experts.

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder unlike Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia because individuals are not concerned about their body image or trying to lose weight. There is currently no solid data for how many people in the UK have ARFID as it is very often conflated with “fussy” eating. However, in a systematic review** of 30 studies, the estimated prevalence of ARFID in child and adolescent samples ranged between 0.3% and 15.5%.

ARFID is characterised by a limited range of food intake by eating only “safe” foods and avoiding entire food types, leading to difficulty meeting nutritional and energy needs, weight loss and health problems. This can be for reasons including sensory sensitivity, fear of negative consequences from eating, and/or a low interest in eating.

With Eating Disorder Awareness Week currently underway, the NHS-backed psychoeducational website, Be Body Positive, is urging parents, carers and health professionals to find out more about ARFID, listen to people’s stories with empathy, to offer support and avoid judgement. Be Body Positive, which is in partnership with Barnardo’s, also encourages people who have concerns to seek support from their GP should they have any concerns about diet and nutrition.

NHS specialist eating disorder dietitian, Paola Falcoskihas developed self-guided modules on ARFID for Be Body Positive. These include evidence-based resources from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy, as well as resources for parents, carers, schools, and health professionals.

Paola said: "ARFID is a complex eating disorder that requires a multifaceted approach to treatment, but recovery is possible. People deserve the right support in navigating their journey towards recovery."

Tahlia David, who had eating difficulties since childhood, was finally diagnosed with ARFID when she was 20 years old. Tahlia's experience with ARFID began at a very young age, but like many others, she was initially dismissed as a “fussy” eater before eventually being misdiagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa as a teenager due to significant weight loss.

For Tahlia, the impact of ARFID extends far beyond the dinner table to emotional, psychological and physical symptoms which make day-to-day life difficult. Tahlia has an above-average sense of smell and taste; she finds certain textures fear-provoking; she can’t eat different foods if they are together on her plate and she has an intense fear of food poisoning which causes distress and nausea long after mealtimes. This has impacted on Tahila’s social life and, as she was misdiagnosed as a teenager, she missed out on vital treatment earlier, when her symptoms were less severe and her physical and mental health were less impacted.

Tahlia said: "Growing up, I felt misunderstood and isolated because of my eating habits. It wasn't until I was properly diagnosed at 20 that I understood why I struggled with eating. Knowing that ARFID exists has been a validating experience, connecting me with a community of people who share similar challenges."

Tahlia's story highlights the importance of ARFID awareness, particularly in educational and medical settings where early intervention can make a significant difference in treatment outcomes. 

Tahila added: "Schools and GPs should be more aware of ARFID and other eating disorders that develop early. Words and attitudes matter.”

For further information and resources, connect with Be Body Positive on Instagram, TikTok (@bebodypositive_nhs), or X, previously Twitter (@BBP_NHS), or visit the official website www.bebodypositive.org.uk.

Follow Tahlia's journey @tahliapaiged on X and stay tuned for her upcoming blog on www.bebodypositive.org.uk

 *Cardona Cano S, Tiemeier H, Van Hoeken D, et al. Trajectories of picky eating during childhood: a general population study. The International Journal of Eating Disorders. 2015;48(6):570–579.
**Sanchez-Cerezo, J., Nagularaj, L., Gledhill, J., & Nicholls, D. (2023). Whatdo we know about the epidemiology of avoidant/restrictive foodintake disorder in children and adolescents? A systematic review ofthe literature. European Eating Disorders Review, 31(2), 226–246.

News from Services for Young People, March 2023

Access to All STEM event inspires young people and connects them with local employers

A successful ‘careers challenge’ event was held at the Hertfordshire Development Centre in Stevenage on Monday 5 February 2024 as part of the Services for Young People (SfYP) Access to All programme. The event gave Stevenage students an opportunity to learn more about careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and connect with local employers. The feedback from the students was positive, with 93% rating the event with 4 or 5 stars.

Celebrating young people’s achievements during National Apprenticeship Week 2024

Inspiring success stories demonstrate the impact of the support provided by SfYP in helping young people into apprenticeships. 

An apprenticeship is an excellent opportunity for young people aged 16 and over to get practical work experience combined with education. They achieve nationally recognised qualifications while also earning a salary.

“I feel happier… less anxious and more confident”

SfYP recently played a crucial role in helping Aaliyah (not her real name) after she was referred to us by her school because of low self-esteem and confidence. Joining our ‘Supporting You’ programme enabled her to make a big difference to her mental health, improving her resilience, self-care skills and sense of belonging.

 Read the case study


Become a Safe Space volunteer mentor

Would you like to become a Safe Space volunteer mentor for young people in Hertfordshire and support them to overcome challenges, achieve their goals and reach their potential?


Safe Space provides mentoring for young people aged 11-19 (25 if they are care leavers or have a learning disability) who live or go to school/college in Hertfordshire. Mentors are given training before being matched with a young person who would benefit from 1:1 mentoring support to help them reach their potential

See more opportunities by Safe Space

Role of the mentor

As a volunteer mentor you would meet with your young person once a week for up to an hour, at a time and place in the community convenient to you both. Usually the mentoring relationship is for 6 months but can be longer or shorter depending on the need.

Following an initial 2 day training programme and required checks, volunteer mentors are matched with young people based on personality and interests but also by location.

As a volunteer mentor you would gain trust from the young person you are working with and provide valuable support in being able to help them work towards goals, overcome challenges, give advice or just provide a listening ear. (Minimum age 21)

You will be supported by a Mentoring Co-ordinator and ongoing training and support groups are provided.

If you are interested, please download an application form and send to mentoringmailbox@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Also any questions should be sent to mentoringmailbox@hertfordshire.gov.uk


Updates from Step2Skills


 Step2Skills is delighted to unveil the 9th edition of Step2Skills News, featuring learners and participants from across their range of employment support and skills training services.

Hear about Andrew and Dune’s experiences on a hospitality course, Jonathan’s journey on the Prince’s Trust TEAM programme in Hertfordshire and Beverley’s alternative route into a new career; teaching.

Learn more from Step2Skills teacher, Maria on living with Autism and set your 2024 goals after reading about the importance of fitness and wellbeing from learner, Viviane.

The digital version of the Step2Skills News magazine can be accessed and read at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/step2skillsmagazine.


The printed copies are on their way so if you would like some A5 printed copies for your organisation, be it a library, doctor’s surgery, village hall, (the list goes on!) please email me and we’ll get this arranged.


Are you ready to release your Number Ninja and improve your number skills?

Step2Skills has been busy promoting the Multiply project across Hertfordshire in the last month and you may have noticed posters on buses, in train station and possibly even had a flyer through your door in the last couple of weeks!

If you'd like to improve your number skills, then the Step2Skills FREE Multiply workshops can help! They offer a range of workshops to help with budgeting, supporting your child with their school work and saving money, so there's bound to be something that can help you 📝💻

Download the leaflet

Visit https://numberninja.org/ and Count Yourself In!


Looking for support into work? The Road to Employment project can help.


 Places on all of these workshops and courses can be booked on the Step2Skills website at www.step2skills.org.uk/courses.

Sources of health and wellbeing evidence to support your work in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire's voluntary and community sector organisations can find it challenging to complete funding applications to deliver their work. Providing evidence of the need for local services to meet local priorities can be a daunting process if you don't know where to start.

This very useful webpage will help providers of local health and wellbeing services in Hertfordshire "evidence the need" for their work in grant funding application forms and in planning their services. There are links to five key sources of health and wellbeing data and evidence available on local priorities, and some tips on how to use them.

These sources are free and available to everyone.

You can use this guide to help you to:

  • find and define local need for health and wellbeing services
  • help show how your services have an impact on local health and wellbeing
  • respond to the health and wellbeing funding landscape, including local authority grant programmes.

Play this short film to introduce the five sources of health and wellbeing evidence in Hertfordshire:-

Webpage: Evidencing the need: health and wellbeing evidence sources (arcgis.com)

Download the Families First Funding Guide

BeeZee Families are Choosing Healthier Snacks

We know lots of families can find it hard to encourage children to choose healthier snacks.

But we’re here to help! Our team of nutritionists deliver Beezee Families, a FREE heathy lifestyle programme to support families across Hertfordshire.

This is Parent Mail. It’s a FREE resource that we share with parents twice a term to tackle the biggest challenges face in making healthy choices. Please share the attachment with parents you work with via email / regular newsletters and on social media.

We also have FREE healthy lifestyle programmes beginning April 22nd to help families to build healthy habits around food and physical activity. Sign-ups are open NOW so families can secure their spot. Alternatively, they can start their journey with our online programmes too.

Visit our website for more details. 


Learning & development

HSCP Learning & Development Programme


HSCP provide a wide variety of learning programmes and workshops across Hertfordshire to develop skills for safeguarding children, young people and adults.

We use this page to give you some quick links through to the HSCP learning programmes:-

Recent 7 Minute Briefings

  • Abusive Head Trauma in Babies - 7 Minute Briefing

  • 7 minute briefing to support professionals to understand what parental consent is. It has been kept short and on one page, using language that is accessible to all professionals.
  • Also a 7 Minute Briefing on the Bruising Policy .  This briefing can also be found on our website –Resources/Year of Learning.

  • 7 minute briefing on Medical Neglect from HSCP.

OnePlusOne Healthy Relationship Training

Evidence shows that conflict between parents can affect multiple outcomes for children, including emotional, behavioural, social and academic development. Parents in poverty or under economic pressure are more likely to experience relationship conflict. According to the latest DWP estimates, 12% of all children and 21% of children in workless families have parents in a distressed relationship.

HCC are commissioning OnePlusOne who have over 50 years’ experience in creating evidence-based resources to support the development of healthy relationships.

OnePlusOne provide digital resources that raise awareness of the impact of stress and conflict on children, giving parents the skills to cope with stress together and manage their conflict more constructively. Allowing parents to develop positive communication skills, so that they can parent co-operatively and work out solutions together.

The resources are split in to 3 modules aimed at:

  • New parents
  • Parents that are together
  • Parents that are separated

To date 163 practitioners across the Families First Partnership have been trained in OnePlusOne, if you would like to access this training please see the details below.

All training is delivered online and held from 9:30 to 12:30 | Each training has a capacity of 15 delegates

Follow the link below for your preferred training date to register your place and a link will be sent to access the training.

24th April 2024 9:30-12:30 register here

11th June 2024 9:30-12:30 register here

 For further information please contact the project lead Nicola.Wilder1@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Free Mental Health First Aid Training

As part of the ongoing response to the cost-of-living crisis,  Hertfordshire County Council are funding free Mental Health First Aid Training for volunteers and staff at foodbanks, community spaces, faith and community groups. We are working with Hertsmere Borough Council who are helping to co-ordinate this across Hertfordshire so please do promote to within your localities.    

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses will be held across 4 days, with half a day on each of the allocated dates. The training will be on Zoom and you will need to attend all a full course to receive the MHFA accreditation. 

COURSE 1: April-May 2024

Tuesday 30th April, 0930-1315
Wednesday 1st May, 0930-1315
Tuesday 7th April, 0930-1315
Wednesday 8th May, 0930-1315 

COURSE 2: June 2024

Tuesday 4th June, 0930-1315
Thursday 6th June, 0930-1315
Tuesday 11th June, 0930-1315
Thursday 13th June, 0930-1315

COURSE 3: September 2024

Tuesday 10th September, 1300-1645
Friday 13th September, 1300-1645
Tuesday 17th September, 1300-1645
Friday 20th September, 1300-1645 

COURSE 4: November 2024

Monday 4th November, 1300-1645
Thursday 7th November, 1300-1645
Monday 11th November, 1300-1645
Thursday 13th November, 1300-1645 

To register for the course, please contact Viewpoint on info@hertsviewpoint.co.uk   or 01707 386136.

Please note:

Places are limited, register as soon as possible!

Online course delivery across April, June, September and November

Course certificate sent via email once you complete the course and evaluation form.

Hertfordshire County Council know many people visiting community spaces and foodbanks require support and we will be offering a Resource Guide, marketing information, access to Togetherall and free Suicide Prevention Training as additional support to support those in need. 

Download the leaflet here


Money Advice Unit Training Programme, Summer 2024

The Money Advice Unit Training Programme and booking form for SUMMER 2024 is now available. 

All the courses are free of charge but please note we will only accept bookings from organisations in Hertfordshire. Due to demand, we only allow a maximum of two participants from each organisation per course

If you want to book for more than one person, please complete a separate booking form for each person. 

Once you return the completed booking form(s) to us, the attendees will receive a booking confirmation email within 5 working days. Please check your junk folder as sometimes our emails go to the junk folder straight away.

Workforce Shadowing

The vision for Families First training and development is to create a skilled, confident and resilient multi-agency workforce that supports whole family working.

Workforce shadowing provides a great opportunity to find out more about other services, what they do and how they might be able to support you in your work. It also enhances communication across agencies and helps strengthen and develop professional relationships, building local networks.

If you would like to organise a workforce shadowing placement for either yourself or a team member please complete the form on this page stating the service you would like to shadow and the preferred district and we will match you to a shadowing opportunity. 

The following services have offered to host shadowing opportunities in either in person or virtually:-

  • Citizens Advice (Broxbourne/St Albans/North Herts)
  • Childcare provision
  • CGL
  • Domestic Abuse Support
  • Families First Panels Team
  • Family Support Service, Family Centre
  • Herts Mind Network
  • Herts Sports Partnership 
  • MIND in Mid Herts
  • ASB Team, District Council, Three Rivers
  • Housing Support, District Council
  • Intensive Family Support Team (IFST)
  • Local School Partnerships
  • Police
  • Public Health Nursing
  • Schools Early Years Provsion 
  • Specialist Adolescent Services Hertfordshire (SASH)
  • Services for Young People
  • Supporting Families Practice Team

Additionally, if you would like to add your service to the above list, again please email us with your contact details, service and district.


Please take a look at the page, bookmark and share with teams, where appropriate.

Workforce development (hertfordshire.gov.uk)

Suicide Prevention Training

The Suicide Prevention Network involves more than 20 organisations. Our vision is to make Hertfordshire a county where no-one ever gets to a point where they feel suicide is their only option.

Suicide Prevention Training Courses (suicidepreventionherts.org.uk)

Suicide Bereavement support

New upcoming dates for fully funded CDP suicide bereavement training, delivered by Harmless.

Those attending will benefit from the following learning outcomes:

  • The magnitude of suicide bereavement
  • Suicide loss as a unique form of complex bereavement
  • ‘Complicated grief’, trauma, and other individual responses to suicide
  • The wider impact of bereavement on those exposed to or affected by suicide
  • The stigma and shame associated with suicide and bereavement
  • Bereavement by suicide as a unique risk factor for suicide
  • Responding to those bereaved by suicide, and how we can help to support them
  • Key UK strategic guidance and research on best practice in shaping services to incorporate suicide bereavement support
  • Postvention: what is means and why it matters
  • A local service perspective: CHUMS work supporting those affected

Click here for more information, dates and booking details 

Difference we're making

Families First - Performance Data Report

You may be interested to view our Families First Performance Data report for the period October 2022 - September 2023.

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.


Celebrating Workforce Achievements

We are delighted to celebrate the graduation of 13 Supporting Families staff, having completed their Working With Parents Level 4 qualification. All 13 completed their portfolios and have received amazing feedback from their tutor around their motivation, attitude and pride they showed for their organisation.

Additionally, six of the learners also achieved commendation awards, with the awarding body recognising their portfolio’s as going above and beyond the normal expectations. One of these, belonging to Senior Family Intervention Worker Lisa Lester, was described as exceptional, something the tutor had never seen before.

We are incredibly proud of all our learners and recognise the challenges of working full time, personal pressures and studying.

Money Advice Unit Project ‘highly commended’ in national awards

In April 2023, the Money Advice Unit commenced a pilot project providing benefits advice via the Enhanced Primary Care Mental Health Service. It was partly inspired by the survey work done by Healthwatch Hertfordshire on the mental health impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

As a result, Healthwatch submitted the initial results of the project to the National Healthwatch Awards, held in March this year. The Hertfordshire MAU project was a highly-commended runner-up. This is quite an achievement, as this award covered all Healthwatch teams in England for any of their work over the last 10 years.

As well as showing solid and impressive figures of ‘benefits gained’, a video co-produced by Healthwatch, HPFT and the MAU showed ‘Paul’s story’. This was especially well received, with feedback being that it was a powerful example of the impact of good benefits advice on an individual’s life.

Some of the compliments received from Healthwatch England were:

  • Excellent work from Healthwatch Hertfordshire which also provided significant insight for nationally influencing work we have done on cost of living (Louise Ansari, Chief Executive, Healthwatch England)
  • You have powerfully demonstrated the point that once someone such as Paul falls outside the system's comfort zone, it is just impossible for people, without the help of the Money Advice Unit, to stop the spiralling down of their health and wellbeing - such a vivid example! (Professor David Croisdale-Appleby, Chair of Healthwatch England)

Healthwatch Hertfordshire are showcasing the work in their annual report, which will be published at the end of June and it is also featured on Healthwatch England’s Annual Report to Parliament (page 39) which has just been published. 20240314 HWE Annual report & Accounts 2022_23 FINAL_0.pdf (healthwatch.co.uk).

Unfortunately, despite reaching 377 people in its first 11 months, and achieving benefit gains for them (so far – more results are expected) of £725,000, the project has now effectively ended as no further funding is available.

Young Carers Service Celebrates National Award Win

Carers in Herts are delighted that their Young Carers Service has been recognised with a national Children and Young People Now Award.

They were announced as the winners of the Young Carers Award at the awards event on Thursday 23rd November 2023 (Carers Rights Day). They beat four other shortlisted organisations and projects to win.

The awards, in their 18th year, were organised by Children and Young People Now, which provide a website and magazine for professionals that work to improve the life chances of children, young people and families in the UK.

Having caring responsibilities can lead to young carers feeling isolated, missing opportunities and poorer health, but they provide information, guidance, and practical support such as activities, to enable young carers to socialise with each other, have a break from caring, develop their skills or knowledge and enhance their wellbeing. They also listen to their challenges and help them share their views and experiences with health and other services that they, or the people they look after, use.

Carole Whittle, the Health and Wellbeing Manager, said: “We are proud of everyone involved with our Young Carers Service, including the young carers who help us design our activities and services, our fantastic staff team who deliver them and our funders – this is your award. It recognises everyone’s commitment and resilience!”

Currently, more than 2,800 young people aged up to 19 in Hertfordshire who provide unpaid care or help to someone close to them who is ill, elderly, disabled or has an addiction is registered with our charity. If you or someone you know is aged 18 or under and has a caring role, contact Carers in Herts to find out about the support they provide young carers and their families. Send an email to young.carers@carersinherts.org.uk or call 01992 58 69 69.

Families First Case Studies

Following on from a programme of Celebrating Excellence in Early Help sessions run in Children’s Services, which aimed to highlight the Families First approach and also included contributions from some of our partners, we are sharing some of the recent case below:

Case Study 1 - Intensive Family Support / Local Borough Council

Scene Setting

The Intensive Family Support team (IFST) began supporting this family of nine in Spring 2021.

As support got underway the third youngest child Tia* was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and the family are struggling coming to terms with Tia’s diagnosis and her life expectancy of one year. Tia is 11 years old.

On learning of Tia’s prognosis and following discussion with Keech Hospice an Occupational Therapist (OT) appointment was arranged for the family’s home. This assessment identified that the three-bedroom home was not suitable for end-of-life care and was not suitable for adaptation as the access was too narrow and steep for a ramp.

The Family Intervention Worker (FIW) made contact with the local Borough Council’s Aids and Adaptions Team for support.


Case Study 2 - Families First Assessment

Scene Setting

This case study provides some insight into the journey of Fran* and her family. Fran is an eight year old girl who worries about her mum, she knows mum is different when she is with her drinking friends. Fran’s Mum has a diagnosis of unstable personality disorder and has previously used drugs and alcohol as coping strategies, she has been in a cycle of poor mental health and whilst their wider family network have been supporting Fran and her mother they sought out some external support via a Families First Assessment.


Case Study 3 - Employment Adviser/IFST

Scene Setting:

This case study provides some insight into the support provided to Sanz* from one of our Employment Advisers. Our Intensive Family Support Teams include Employment Advisers who provide tailored support in areas such as employability; taking time to understand skills and experiences, any barriers or challenges preventing employment, identification of any training to support employability, preparation of supporting statements and CVs and job search support, including mock interviews.

Our Advisers can also provide guidance on how to navigate the benefits system, including benefit entitlements and claims, as well as how changes in circumstances impact benefits.

They work in parallel with Family Intervention Workers. This case study summarises support given to Sanz, the mother, to support with employability and benefits.


Case Study 4 - Local Schools Partnership

Please share anonymised case studies highlighting how early help and partnership working has provided support to local families with us at familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk. Please ensure you have consent from the family.

Help us promote the Families First Website

Our Families First Website is a great central resource for early help support for families and young people, with links to many services such as mental health support, Services for Young People, SEND Local Offer, parenting courses etc along with a link to the Herts Directory and the Families First professionals area.

We would like to encourage all partner agencies to help us promote the Families First website to parents and carers in Hertfordshire.

Campaign Tools:

Please add the web address to your own website:- https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/microsites/families-first/families-first.aspx

Or use the QR Code for direct link to the Families First homepage:

Download a QR code 

Download a Families First Logo

Social media

Please follow Families First on Facebook and X (Twitter)

Suggested post

Image to post on your own social media channels, with the suggested text:-

"All families need help and support at some point, please visit the Families First Website to find out about support available in your area". https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/.../families-first.aspx


Please download our poster and display in your public facing space.

Thank you in advance for your support with this campaign.

Who's who

Who's Who in Supporting Families

Supporting Families Team

Head of Family Support : Karen Dorney

Service Managers:

Lauren Penrose - Operations Manager Intensive Family Support Team

Simon Gentry – Business Manager

Sue Chapman - Service Manager, Families First Panels and Practice Team

Chris OConnor - Service Manager, Development Team

Intensive Family Support Teams

The Intensive Family Support teams (IFST) work with families with multiple and complex needs who would benefit from intensive support.

Find Contacts here:- Intensive Family Support Teams (hertfordshire.gov.uk)

Families First Coordinators - How can they support you locally?

As your local Senior and Families First Coordinators, we can offer support in all areas of the Families First Assessment. Please contact us if you are experiencing any difficulties or require further advice and guidance.  We can support you with challenges including:

Speak to someone (hertfordshire.gov.uk)

Development Team

To contact the Supporting Families Development team email familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk


Local area news

East Herts & Broxbourne Local News

Updates from the local districts

Please use this page to promote any local events or webinars. Please send an email with the subject: FF News - Local News page with a link to your event and short description to familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk

  • Active in the Community CIC are excited to extend an invitation to you to the Sele Farm Community Event. This event is a celebration of our vibrant community and an opportunity for local partners to come together to contribute to the collective well-being of our neighbourhood. 

Event Details: Poster
Date: Sat 30th of March, 2024
Time: 10am - 1pm
Venue: Sele Community Hub, Glenfield Ct, Hertford SG14 2HN

  • East Herts Council Tax Support - Families can find out if they can get some help with their Council Tax.  EHDC have a scheme to assist people with their Council Tax based on income and capital held.  They can find out if you are eligible for Council Tax support by clicking Benefit Calculator and Claim - Home | East Herts District Council (teamnetsol.com)
  • Healthy Hub East Herts are running drop-in sessions for residents to pop in for FREE help and advice about anything they would like support with. You can visit in person in Hertford every Tuesday and Friday between 9am and 4pm.  We'll be at the Skills & Learning Centre, 67 Fore street, Hertford SG14 1AL.

  • Lots of really useful links for information on support for the cost of living is available onthe Citizens  Advice East Herts website https://citizensadviceeastherts.org.uk/ from Energy saving tips, Cost of Living payments, and Fuel bills. Also download the Citizens Advice leaflet which gives times/dates of their drop-in 

  • Services for Young People (SfYP) youth work projects enable young people to develop their personal and social skills and increase their confidence, self-esteem and resilience. Get details of SfYP projects and information, advice and support services in your area here:

SfYP East Herts Team projects
SfYP Broxbourne Team projects

  • Broxbourne Council has produced a simple Cost of Living guide for residents - Download the February 24 Cost of Living Directory

  • Broxbourne Council is running a Youth Sports Night every Friday night from 4 to 6 at the Laura Trott Leisure Centre in Cheshunt. For more information, contact community@broxbourne.gov.uk or call 01992 785555 ext 5745

  • Active East Herts: The Sele Youth Project is running on Monday's 5.30pm to 7.30pm at the Hertford Wellbeing Hub (HWH) and the MUGA near the Sele Community Centre. For more info visit http://whatson.activeeastherts.org.uk/hertford-wellbeing-hub/

  • Healthy Hub East Herts are running drop-in sessions across the district for residents to pop in for FREE help and advice about anything they would like support with. A full list of dates and venues is on our website.
  • Boxercise Classes with Herts Disability Foundation
    Herts Sports Disability Foundation are pleased to be running Boxercise classes. Boxercise are boxing exercise classes for home-educated children with additional needs from ages 8 to 18, and adults with disabilities from ages 18 plus who would like some fun with others, whilst improving coordination and fitness. Sessions are adapted to the needs of the individuals in the session. To find out more information and to book a space, click here.

Stevenage & North Herts Local News

Updates from the local districts

Please use this page to promote any local events or webinars. Please send an email with the subject: FF News - Local News page with a link to your event and short description to familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk

  • Find out more about IMPAKT – Domestic Abuse Support Team – which covers North Herts and Stevenage.

  • Services for Young People (SfYP) youth work projects enable young people to develop their personal and social skills and increase their confidence, self-esteem and resilience. Get details of SfYP projects and information, advice and support services in your area here:
  •  LGBTQ plus group (View poster) – If you are part of the LGBTQ plus community in Hertfordshire and would like support with your #Wellbeing or are looking to connect with others, you can join our LGBTQ plus peer support group last Tuesday of every month 4-6pm in Stevenage.  Email admin@mindinmidherts.org.uk for more information.

  • A new Community Hub in Stevenage Old Town is now open every Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm. The aim of the hub is to support anyone who is approaching the end of their life (within 12 months) and those caring for them – the time before someone dies is a difficult one – many people don’t want to acknowledge what’s happening and that can be so hard for those around them. Find our more here www.annerobsontrust.org.uk

  • Ohana Easter Music Event:-


St Albans & Dacorum Local News

Updates from the local districts

Please use this page to promote any local events or webinars. Please send an email with the subject: FF News - Local News page with a link to your event and short description to familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk

  • Services for Young People (SfYP) youth work projects enable young people to develop their personal and social skills and increase their confidence, self-esteem and resilience. Get details of SfYP projects and information, advice and support services in your area here:

SfYP St Albans Summer 24 Team projects

SfYP Dacorum  Summer 24 Team projects

Services for Young People : Young People’s Hub - view the drop-in sessions here

  • Families in Focus are pleased to announce another free in person Parent Network support and information group starting on the last Wednesday of every month, 10am-12pm at St Albans Cycle Hub Cottonmill Community Centre Cottonmill Lane St Albans AL1 2EF. More info can be found here

  • Emotional Based School Avoidance - DSPL 7&8 and Services for Young People are organising some coffee mornings, which are aimed at parents and carers who have a child in year 7 - 11 who is not attending school as a result of emotional, mental health and wellbeing issues. The children and young people can also attend.  Find out more here
  • Community Action Dacorum Spring term: Please contact Simeon Dunlop, email: simeon@communityactiondacorum.org.uk for information on 2024 courses.

  • Dacorum DSPL8 - Delivering Special Provision Locally:-The Spring 2024 Parenting Courses and Support Brochure for Dacorum is now available to be viewed or download from our website, via: 


  • Community Action Dacorum are running a FREE Intermediate Excel Course:- 

    Venue: - 48 High Street, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP1 3AF | Date: Wednesday 10th April – 15th May |Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm

    For further information please contact: Learning@communityactiondacorum.org.uk
    www.communityactiondacorum.org/traininganddevelopment  01442 253 935 

Watford & Three Rivers, Hertsmere and Welwyn Hatfield Local News

Updates from the local districts

Please use this page to promote any local events or webinars. Please send an email with the subject: FF News - Local News page with a link to your event and short description to familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk

  • Sustainability themed career fair comes to Three Rivers
    Three Rivers District Council, in partnership with the Hertfordshire Careers Hub have organised an exciting free event to highlight employment and training opportunities in the sustainability and green economy sectors to local people.

Date: Wednesday 27 March 2024, Time: 15:15 -17:00, Location: Watersmeet Theatre, High Street, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 1EH 
Learn more, and book your FREE place here: https://www.hopinto.co.uk/generation-careers-fair-hub/generation-three-rivers-sustainability-career-fair/

  • Services for Young People (SfYP) youth work projects enable young people to develop their personal and social skills and increase their confidence, self-esteem and resilience. Get details of SfYP projects and information, advice and support services in your area here:

  • Sensory Tennis - free sensory tennis sessions with Get Set 4 Tennis. Suitable for adults with complex disabilities and sensory impairments Sensory Tennis

  • Family Centre Service: The Family Support Service have translated their support leaflet into to the following languages (click to download):-


Welwyn Hatfield & Hertsmere

  • Services for Young People (SfYP) youth work projects enable young people to develop their personal and social skills and increase their confidence, self-esteem and resilience. Get details of SfYP projects and information, advice and support services in your area here:

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