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Two weeks ago, members of my team visited sunny Blackpool to talk to parents of young children at a local Better Start centre, as part of my Independent Family Review which was commissioned by Government. 

The Family Review is an independent review of family life, to understand children and families’ perspectives on what family means to them and explore the interaction between family life and children’s outcomes. This Review will also look at children and family services, to look at what works for improving children’s outcomes and what can be improved to better support families. 

As part of the Family Review, I wanted to hear directly from parents of little ones, to hear about their experiences of parenthood and ask them about the support networks they use in their local area. I also wanted to hear about how the Family Review might be able to make their experiences better and gather ideas to improve services and provision for families in Blackpool. 

Parents were keen to tell us about the importance of local services for young families, especially after the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, in providing both children and parents a break and a cup of tea or ‘a brew’ in Blackpool! Many parents also told us that local services provided an alternative family unit and a safe environment to discuss a wide range of issues, particularly for families with vulnerable children, but in some cases, the communication and advertising of services could be improved. 

As part of the Family Review, I am listening to children and their families across England, to ensure their voices, thought and ideas are heard. 

If you have a child under 5 years old, you can also take part in our Call to Action, a short survey about family life and childcare with young children here.

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