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Start for Life - Family Hubs in Plymouth

Start for Life Panel

Our children's lives are shaped by their family and community, the people who love and know them best, nurturing and protecting, attuning and adapting to their needs and development, and helping with the challenges they face as they grow.

There are times when we can all get stuck and need to develop new ways to cope. This might be when we are new to parenting or experiencing something we are unable to find a way through alone. We might need to know in advance what to expect and this will help us prepare for the challenges parenting can bring; we may need advice and will often draw upon personal relationships and networks. Just having someone to listen helps us to build our own solutions. There will also be times we need extra help or professional support.

We have heard that families would like to be able to get help and advice before problems grow, from people who are local, will listen and will understand. You tell us these should be people who you can build relationships with; those who can act quickly to offer the right level of advice and support to keep you and your children safe, well and developing.

The right thing to do - seeking help and advice when you need it

The right time - early in the life of a child and at the beginning of when things start to become difficult

The right support - help based on the people who you know and who are important to you, inviting others for professional support if this is necessary.

Our Start for Life Offer is a part of the development of Family Hubs (0 to 19 year-olds and 25 with SEND), bringing together families, communities, volunteers and staff across Plymouth.

We work with a broad range of partners to:

  • ensure all babies and young children have the care, love and support they need to grow up healthy and happy and safe.
  • support all children to aspire and achieve; living in resilient families and communities, with access to a broad range of opportunities to build strong relationships and be able to have fun and learn.
  • enable every family to receive the support they need. All families should have access to the information and tools they need to care for and connect with their babies and children, and to look after their own wellbeing.

There will be Family Hub sites across the City, some will be based within the places you may know as Children's Centres and Youth Centres. You will see the first of these from the end of June 2023

Our Family Hubs Network will also connect with other spaces across your community.

We want to meet families in places where they feel comfortable so our Start for Life and Family Hubs support offer will be available in different places and on line. We hope that you will always find a way to join in that suits you and your family. With respectful curiosity, we want to get to know you, your experience and that of your family. We want to understand what you have tried, what you need and what you want to achieve. This will help us make sure we provide the right level of support at the right time in the right place.

We will be building on our current services to increase the support we can offer with;

  • Early Infant Relationships and Attachment
  • Infant Feeding
  • Parenting Preparation and Support
  • Language and Communication and Child Development for three to four year-olds

Early infant relationships and attachment

We want all families to enjoy their experience of becoming new parents and bringing up their children but recognise that this can be a challenging time for many. It is a major life change and often adds further anxiety to worries that people already have.

The Family Hubs Network will be a safe space where parents can speak to others about their concerns and ask for support with their own well-being and advice on how best to interact with their baby. You will be able to access support in many different ways; through one to one contact with a worker or peer supporter, in groups or via a a website or apps.

Although help can be accessed at Family Hubs, we aim to make it available in other local venues and online that people can easily access. Our practitioners and volunteers will be available across the community, to listen to your concerns and work with you to find solutions. You might need some tips about how to manage your own mental health or about how to make your baby feel loved and secure, which will support their development and future learning.

Some people might need more ongoing and specialist support with these issues and if necessary, we can link you into services that provide help for parental mental health and support relationship building with babies and young children. You should only have to tell your story once and we welcome dads, partners and significant others who want support their families.

Infant feeding support

We want every family in Plymouth to have the support they need to receive the many health benefits of breastfeeding. We want to create a city where breastfeeding is welcomed, promoted and celebrated. Where families know where to go to get advice, information and further support for their infant feeding choices, at any stage of pregnancy and beyond. Our specially trained teams of practitioners and volunteers will work together to provide an early network of support, at times that suit our families, and available for as long as is needed.

Parenting preparation and support

We want to support you and your family on your unique journey of parenthood. We will work with parents, families and communities in partnership on the important first 1001 days of your child's life and beyond!

The first 1001 days is such a vital time in your child's life. Did you know that...

  • Science tells us that a child's experiences from conception through their first five years will go on to shape their next 50.
  • From 8 weeks your baby can respond to touch.
  • More than a million neural connections are formed every second in the first year of a baby's life.

The Family Hub network is here to listen and respond to any questions and concerns that you may have and let you about what is available through Start for Life programmes.

You will be able to find the information and support you need at a time and place that is best for you, either in person at one of the family hubs or outreach sites or through our digital online resources. These can be accessed on our web pages

Linking with the family hub network will help provide you with opportunities to meet other parents and children.

The opportunities available includes:


  • Access to specialist services, such as midwifery and Health Visiting
  • The Solihull parenting programme, including topics such as: helping you and your baby through pregnancy and birth, getting to know your baby, feeding your baby and caring for your baby
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Baby / child development creating a learning environment at home


  • Postnatal Solihull programme, birth to 12 months, understanding your baby, brain development, physical and emotional development and the importance of secure relationships with care givers.
  • Circle of security, support care givers to identify attachment needs, read babies cues and miscues, to self-reflect and repair ruptures in the relationship.
  • Baby groups, opportunities to build local support networks with other parents and carers. A variety of activities for babies to support their learning and development to include, sensory play, imaginative play, the importance of books and singing.
  • Baby massage, helping baby to relax, promoting social, emotional and cognitive development, can help to reduce colic and irritability.
  • Breastfeeding support, offered by trained peer supporter and centre workers
  • Baby and child development creating a learning environment at home


  • Circle of security, support care givers to identify attachment needs, read babies cues and miscues, to self-reflect and repair ruptures in the relationship.
  • Solihull, understand children's behaviours and support your child to regulate their emotions whilst being a reflective parent who can repair ruptures in relationships
  • Incredible Years, support to strengthen parent child relationships,  developing a nurturing relationship with your child, strategies for supporting your child's behaviour
  • Baby and child development creating a learning environment at home.

Language and communication and child development for three to four year olds

We want families in Plymouth to have the support they need to enable all children to develop their language and communication skills, which are so important for building a foundation for lifelong learning, forming relationships, and thriving.

The Family Hubs network will provide parents and carers with information, support and advice about what typical development looks like and ideas on how to encourage children's learning, language and general development at home. Parents will also be able to get expert advice on what to do if they are concerned about their child's development and join in activities with other families.

Support will be available through Family Hubs groups at venues across the city, one to one contact and through online resources.

The family hub buildings and network

Your Family Hub is a welcoming, safe and secure space for you to be able to meet other families, people from your community and neighbourhood, volunteers and practitioners from a wide variety of backgrounds. You can also find:

  • Information about local support in your area
  • Groups and activities for all your family - things like antenatal classes; play sessions; parenting programmes; dads groups; child development groups such as language development and relationship building.
  • Practical help
  • Breast feeding and infant feeding support
  • Equipment on loan for example, breast pumps
  • Face to face support, to talk through your needs and your family's needs and help you make a plan
  • Access to extra help if things get more difficult.

Family Hubs will grow to offer more services for families as they need these.

Help and support

If you have any questions about the Family Hubs in Plymouth, please email


Family Hubs Promotional Quote



Documents and downloads

Start for Life and Family Hubs brochure (PDF) [1MB]



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