A BRAND-NEW space for families has officially opened providing a one-stop shop for health services and support for parents and children of all ages.
The Beever Family Hub in Saint Mary’s brings maternity, health visitors, speech and language support, early learning opportunities, community support groups, and activities under one roof.
There is also support for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) up to age 25.
Councillor Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council, cut the ribbon at the official launch, to open the doors of the refurbished building and welcome the community inside.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Council Leader said: “I am so proud to be able to open up Oldham’s first Family Hub which I know will become an invaluable resource for families in our communities.
“Sure Start centres were once a lifeline for parents and children in Oldham, and now the Family Hub spaces will deliver the same level of support, access to services and opportunities to seek help.
“The Family Hubs programme will be going a step further to engage and support families, and we’re also launching today a Digital Family Hub, with all the information that parents and families need, when they need it.”
Following a walkaround before the official ribbon cutting, Cllr Shah added: “The transformation of this building is fantastic to see. Being a parent is both wonderful and challenging, but with a warm inviting place to get the support you need, the new Family Hub programme is going to help many parents in Oldham overcome these challenges and thrive as a family.”
In addition to the new Beever Family Hub, there will be five additional Family Hub buildings. These will be Stanley Road, Spring Meadows, Medlock Vale, Oldham Library and a Shaw Family Hub.
The former Beever Children’s Centre has undergone significant investment to redesign the use of its spaces, and open more of its rooms for community use.
Cllr Shaid Mushtaq, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “I know Beever Centre very well and the transformation of the space is fantastic. It’s more than a lick of paint and you can see the thought that has gone into the use of the rooms, it’s outdoor space and how services can be provided more effectively and with residents in mind.”
A former office has been transformed into a fantastic space for children to play, read and learn. An old staff kitchen has been given a new life as a community kitchen, which can now host food-based community groups.
The outdoor space has also undergone an enormous change, opening up more space for children to run, play and explore. Over time, play equipment had become dilapidated, and parts of the outdoor space were no longer available to children. The grounds have now been redesigned into versatile spaces to encourage imaginative play, including den building, go kart construction, water play and woodland story time. New flooring, landscaping and a new nature walk have all been carried out to encourage outdoor activities.
Oldham Council Chief Executive Harry Catherall was also at the event, saying: “Today’s launch marks a change in how we’re approaching services for families in Oldham, and it’s great to see parents, carers and children here today enjoying the new facilities and accessing the help they need. But the Family Hubs programme goes a step further and we want Oldham families to be aware of the fantastic digital support on offer so they can get advice and information 24 hours a day.”
As well as an in-person physical Hub, the Digital Family Hub has been set up as an “always on” resource and will be complimented by a digital approach that follows each family’s journey. This provides all kinds of helpful information by email based on a child’s age. Getting this information straight to their inbox means parents will not miss out on critical information, new support available in Oldham, plus activities and fresh ideas for entertaining children of all ages.
This will include all kinds of information, from safe sleeping advice for babies, to applying for a school place or even tips for speaking to teenagers about vaping or consent.
Cllr Shah, who is also the Greater Manchester Lead for Equalities and Communities, added: “Oldham’s Family Hubs programme will deliver for every community in the borough. Some communities are difficult to engage with, while others may be too proud to ask for help when they need it. We are committed to breaking down these barriers, destigmatising asking for help, and making sure every family in Oldham knows how Family Hubs can help them.”