Emerging Project

Family Hub

Idea: A place to meet, socialise, learn and support other families

A child-orientated lounge and cafe with events space offering classes and activities, with the potential to incorporate work and making space to support parents with their ‘work/ life/ parenting’ balance.

  • An informal cafe where parents can socialise and children play, alongside peer-to-peer support
  • Alongside refreshments, the cafe could be used for programming, e.g. healthy cooking demos
  • A multi-use lounge would support classes and workshops, from baby sign, reusable nappies workshops to after-school clubs
  • Having a shop front offers a sales opportunity to sell related goods/products and support test trading, such as a local children’s clothing company
  • There is an opportunity to link to local services, e.g. hospital, health and well-being services, such as new parent support groups. Potential to partner with the college and their Early Years courses, from training, work experience for students to links with partner organisations, such as a short-stay crèche to support parents to take in-house classes or working / study sessions.
  • Also, potential to combine with co-working, e.g. in Whetstone there is a new co-working space that also has a crèche.
  • Residents have also suggested a town centre wide approach, where different businesses offer elements of the Family Hub, e.g. classes at a cafe, children’s photography organised by a photography shop, information hub elsewhere etc.

Why it is useful:

  • Improves the High Street offer to better reflect the local population and cater for the increasing number of young families
  • Brings people together around shared interests and commonalities, building community networks and mutual support – especially important for parents of young children as they can feel isolated
  • Supports opportunities for employment and skills development amongst residents

Who needs to be involved:

  • Champions: Need to convene a group/partners
  • Operator: social enterprise (lock-in social value and aid grant funding) or private operator
  • Council: Support
  • Potential partners: College, hospital and health and well-being services
  • Local families: Participant / Potential crowdfund

How to get started:

  • Test idea and establish partnerships
  • Test feasibility of potential locations and business model
  • Explore funding for both capital and revenue costs
  • Trial and build community, e.g. test programme ideas such as a work session with crèche

Viability considerations:

  • Funding: Exploring options, including crowdfunding and government or council match funding
  • Site: Current lack of publicly owned space requires the lease of a privately owned property; therefore, support potentially required to secure affordable rent. Potential partial rates relief dependent on the company structure, off-set against social value outputs.
  • Resource: 1.5 members of staff to manage and run

Example: Hackermoms

Mothership HackerMoms is the first-ever ‘creative life lab’ for parents. In 2012, 10 mothers ran a crowd-fund campaign and took on a 100m2 shopfront in Oakland and began running a child-friendly creative workspace and business incubator for parents. HackerMoms is founded on the idea that parents need a creative outlet and safe environment of encouragement, stimulation, support and permission to explore new ideas. The space and activities are run through a membership model of £60/month.