Families First News

Difference we're making

ARC Services - Officially Outstanding


Following the full (2 day) Ofsted Inspections in August 2018, ARC Short Breaks maintained their Outstanding rating from last year and The Lakes Families Together Programme achieved their Outstanding, making the whole service officially Outstanding.

Both sites were reported to be achieving above and beyond in all areas:

How well children and young people are helped and protected

The effectiveness of leaders and Managers

The Overall experiences and progress of children and young people

As part of the inspections the Ofsted Inspector spoke to young people who were currently being supported by the service, their parents, ARC staff, professionals who support the service intensively i.e. Virtual Schools and other professionals who have young people accessing the service, the overall feedback was very positive.

One parent stated that the service has helped them to see ’light at the end of the tunnel’

A child’s sibling said that participating in the programme has ‘given me my brother back’.

A Social Worker described the change in one child and their family as ‘transformational’ and the child ‘is like a different child’. The Social Worker went on to say how amazed she was that the staff had managed, in such a short time, to engage with a very reluctant parent.

ARC staff described Managers as ‘positive role models and very supportive’.

Child quote- “before I was dark and empty after I worked with the ARC I was happy bright and cheerful”

A young person reflected – ‘when I first came to short breaks things seemed quite bleak and then I was given time with staff from the ARC who helped me and my family make changes. It took a while, but things are better for me now and I feel that the bleakness has gone and the sky is open and full of endless possibilities’

This is a great achievement for ARC Services and reflects the passion and commitment of the staff to support young people and their families to achieve their goals and thrive as a family again.



Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) and Healthy Children's Centre awards and celebration event


The achievements of Hertfordshire County Council’s Children’s Centres staff were recognised at the recent `Baby Friendly Initiative and Healthy Children’s Centre’ celebration event that took place at Mill Green Golf Course on Thursday 7 September 2018.

The event included the first BFI and Healthy Children’s Centre awards ceremony which highlighted the contribution, commitment and outstanding work that individuals and groups in Hertfordshire have made in response to these initiatives, which promote healthy lifestyle changes with families and responsive feeding for bottle and breast feeding.

Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Teresa Heritage said ‘It’s very reassuring that we have so much support in Hertfordshire to help new mums, at what can be a very vulnerable time. Our children’s centre teams do an amazing job and get really positive feedback, so it’s fantastic that their achievements and hard work is being recognised.’

The winners were as follows.

  • Baby Friendly Initiative Champion of the Year – Julia Lewis, Three Rivers West Children’s Centre Group and Rosie Cross, Hitchin and Rural Children’s Centre Group.
  • Baby Friendly Initiative Group of the Year – Stort Valley and Villages Children’s Centre Group.
  • Baby Friendly Initiative Improved Group of the Year – Hatfield Children’s Centre Group and Hertsmere East Children’s Centre Group.
  • Healthy Children’s Centre Lead of the Year – Emma Ashworth, Three Rivers West Children’s Centre Group.
  • Healthy Children’s Centre Group of the Year – Stevenage South Children’s Centre Group.
  • Healthy Children’s Centre Improved Group of the Year – Hertford and Villages Children’s Centre Group.

Following the success of this event, Hertfordshire County Council wish to hold the awards as an annual recognition event for staff.

Congratulations to all nominees and winners.

News from YC Herts

More than 900 young people experienced a summer of a lifetime and helped make a difference to their local communities with Hertfordshire County Council’s youth service, YC Hertfordshire.

The community-minded 16 and 17 year olds each completed a week of activities, a week-long residential stay which included skills building, followed by a social action project to benefit their local communities.

County Councillor Teresa Heritage, Deputy Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “It is fantastic to see so many Hertfordshire young people keen to make a difference to their local areas and gain a better understanding of what it is to be an active and enthusiastic member of their local community.


“The young people who have completed NCS have gained an enormous amount of knowledge and increased their self-confidence and resilience this summer. I hope that it stands them in good stead as they move towards independence and plan for their future.

“Young people have supported a huge number of local charities and community organisations, as well as generously donating their time to rejuvenate public spaces.

“Their contribution is greatly appreciated by communities across Hertfordshire.”

The programme that each of the young people completed included discussions on a range of subjects including mental health, careers, living independently and homelessness. They also learned vital new skills such as first aid and sign language.

The young people planned and organised a wide variety of social action projects across the county. These included:

  • Organising intergenerational events at residential homes for elderly people, incorporating a range of activities from quizzes, tea parties and music performances.
  • Helping out at local animal sanctuaries and providing hands-on help with the day to day care of the animals.
  • Completing gardening projects in local communal gardens, residential homes, hospitals and public spaces, including a public underpass.
  • Making over and refurbishing local community centres.
  • Producing videos to raise awareness of issues such as deaf awareness.
  • Collecting donations for local food banks.
  • Organising stalls to promote the awareness of issues which affect young people, such as mental health.
  • Organising and taking part in “Fit and Fed” projects for children who maybe hungry and/or isolated during the school holidays.
  • Helping create care packages for homeless people in support of a local homeless charity.


Young people who took part in the programme also gained a lot from the experience:

Hafsa, 16, said: “NCS is an opportunity to meet completely new people and step out of your comfort zone and learn a lot more than I thought I could ever learn. It teaches you responsibility and independence as you are away from your family.”

Mikey, 15, said: “I thought certain ways about certain things and NCS has broken down these stereotypes.”

Halle, 16, said: “It’s been a great experience and an important time to meet people of different cultures and religions.”

Niral, aged 16, said: “NCS pushed everyone out of their comfort zones. It was great to socialise, make friends and be part of a team.”

Tia, aged 16, said: “I am more independent and more mature because of my NCS experience. I have become my own person.”

Taran (16): “NCS has been great – a once in a lifetime opportunity! By completing our social action project I have become more confident and caring.”

Hilary (16): “Knowing that I have had an impact on the residents at Loughton Hall has boosted my self-esteem.”

Kassim, 16, said: “We have had to learn to work as a team and now feel really comfortable with each other.”

Jaival, 16, said: “I’ve learnt communication and leadership skills which are good for my CV.”

Ella, 16, said: “NCS has really motivated me to find a job.”

YC Hertfordshire finalists in prestigious youth work award


Leanne Clayton from YC Hertfordshire

(Leanne Clayton from the YC team)

YC Hertfordshire has been named as a finalist in the prestigious Children and Young People Now Awards, for its work with Who Not What – a group dedicated to giving a voice to young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning communities in Hertfordshire.

YC Hertfordshire helped to form the Who Not What group in 2014 which, for the last four years, has helped to inform and shape services for LGBTQ young people.

The service is one of nine nominees in the awards’ youth work category and the awards will be presented at a ceremony on 21st November in London.

The group of young people looks at services and education available throughout Hertfordshire and conducts regular consultations to hear the views and opinions of young LGBTQ people aged 11–25 who live, work or are educated in the county. It also works to raise awareness of issues that young LGBTQ face and the services available to support them.

The group meets every month with the support of youth workers and consults with young people in schools, youth groups and community groups on a wide range of LGBTQ issues. The feedback they receive is used to inform service development across the county and ensure that LGBTQ young people get the support they need.

Visit www.ychertordshire.org or www.youngprideinherts.org for more information.



40 Year's of Service!

Ian Marchant, former Team Leader for YCH Stevenage received an award for 40 year’s service to Local Authority on Monday 11th June 2018, at County Hall.  The award was presented by the Chair of the County Council Richard Thake and the Chief Executive John Wood, for inclusion in the next publication.


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