Rishi Sunak announces funding for 'family hubs' on visit to Cornwall

The Prime Minister described the work done at the St Austell centre as 'incredible' Credit: PA images

Cornwall, Dorset and Torbay councils are to be given extra government cash to set up 'family hubs'.

The Prime Minister made the announcement on a visit to a hub in St Austell this morning (9 February). It is an idea he initially backed as Chancellor.

Alongside his wife Akshata Murty, Sunak met with parents, babies and toddlers during a visit to discuss the £300 million programme.

The parents had completed a parenting skills course and spoke with the couple about their experience.

One woman said she was nervous about becoming a mother, and that the staff at the hub really helped with her confidence.

She told the Prime Minister: "I was a bit anxious in myself and as a parent, I felt I had a job to do and I felt like I couldn't do my job.

"But I knew that wasn't the case. The staff were really, really helpful."

Another parent said: "I was anxious about asking for help and not doing a good job."

Mr Sunak asked one mother: "What was the thing you found most helpful in thesupport?"

She replied: "I think the one-to-one sessions I had were really helpful, and someone is always there at the end of a phone."

His wife Akshata Murty joined Mr Sunak on his visit to St Austell Credit: PA Images

Another parent spoke of the difficulties of raising a child with additional needs and said that the hub helped to make her feel less isolated.

The Prime Minister replied: "That's the thing about finding parents in a similar situation and talking things through together."

He described the work done at the St Austell centre as "incredible", adding: "I'm delighted we are going to be able to do more of this right across the country."

The hubs will provide help to children and families from conception through to age 19, or up to 25 for children with special educational needs or disabilities.

They will act as a “one-stop shop” to offer guidance and advice on issues including infant feeding, mental health support, health visits and parenting classes.

People will also be able to get advice on getting into work, relationship building and stopping smoking.

Mr Sunak said he wanted a childcare system in Britain that was "affordable and convenient" for parents.

The Prime Minister and his wife also joined a health visitor review where parent Giselle was visiting with her two sons, Brody, aged two, and six-month-old Seth.

The couple kept the children entertained during the health visit Credit: PA Images

Ms Murty talked about the 18-month age gap between the children and Giselle replied: "Hopefully they are going to share the same things."

The Prime Minister joined in with a tower Brody was building out of blocks. He told Brody: "You are doing it all, look at that. We are running out of bricks."

Ms Murty added: "I still remember doing it with our two."

The couple also spent some time at a stay-and-play group at the hub chatting with mothers and playing with their young children.

One mother asked the Prime Minister whether he had stayed overnight in Cornwall and he replied: "I just got in this morning.

"It would have been nice to get away but sadly not."

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