Howgill Family Centre has worked with children and their families in West Cumbria since the late 1970s. It aims to provide support so that every child might have equality of opportunity to achieve their full potential.
The organisation coordinates Centre-based activities throughout Copeland and provides Home Support and Community Outreach projects.
Pre birth and Beyond is a three year project which aims to support children aged 0-2 years and their parents/carers. Support provided will include home visits, breastfeeding support and facilitating groups such as infant massage.
Over the last ten years research has increasingly demonstrated the crucial importance of a child’s development from conception to age two in terms of positive outcomes and the lasting impact this can have on the rest of their lives. By engaging with and supporting parents in the most disadvantaged areas Howgill is able to ensure that more children enter formal education with a good chance of learning and thriving.
Howgill also provide intensive support to teen parents as some young parents are particularly vulnerable.
The project complements statutory provision by working alongside “universal” services e.g. community midwives and health visitors, responding whenever concerns or additional needs are identified, beyond that which statutory provision is designed to meet. Greater integration with these universal services is another aim of the project as it is believed this will enhance the effectiveness of the project in helping to prevent families getting into crisis.
Andrea Hardie – Knight said “Targeted parents will be encouraged to participate in a parenting programme that encourages parents to be more confident in their role, emphasising the importance of the child/carer relationship. Participants will also be encouraged and supported in attending other services such as Infant Massage, Baby Picasso Carer and Baby Groups all of which are designed to help parents to gain confidence in their parenting role. We appreciate the significant funding received from Copeland Community Fund for this project and other areas of Howgill’s work in Copeland.”
Other funding for the project was provided by United Utilities and Howgill Family Centre’s own fundraising.