It’s been a busy few months at Creative Homes, we have been:

  • Running a new Hub to Home programme in partnership with Lambeth Living, Crown Lane Children’s Centre, the new Hook House Community Association and a local women’s refuge.
  • Developing our home interventions particularly the Creative Chef, the Toilet Sailor, and have just delivered our first baby consultation.
  • Developing our spot events; one day events where we can reach larger audience sizes with our resources
  • Developing stronger links with public services, cultural venues, outreach workers from children’s services and housing associations (trip to the Horniman image)
  • Working towards an embedded service so that Housing and Health organisations can join us to TAKE PLAY SERIOUSLY when it comes to improving the health and wellbeing of families with under 5s’
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The stress thermometer, one of impact measurement tools, has helped us highlight key areas causing families stress on a daily basis and how creative play can really help to reduce these point of tension.

In the previous phase of the Knee High Challenge we trialed our first Hub to Home program on the Church Manor estate in Oval, where we came to what felt like a rather scary realisation:

“If we want to truly support families who are hard to reach, we can’t do it alone.

We learned so many useful things during our time at Church Manor, but most importantly perhaps was that relying almost entirely on door knocking to connect with families was not enough. We needed to connect with the other services and find a way to work together to provide a well balance system of support for families.

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Our toilet training sailor makes a home visit to search for Potty Island.

For the past 9 weeks we’ve been running a Hub to Home program based at the Hook House Community Hub on the Holderness Estate, where our team have been providing weekly group play sessions and home visits to local families.

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Building a den at home during a Play Consultation; the first step we do with every family before giving them a full home home delivery according to their individual needs!

This time around we’ve been working with Jo Clayton, at the Hook House Community Hub, which she recently helped set up a community playgroup. She’s also a local mum and was involved in Knee High Design Challenge in Phase one. When we met in May, we both recognised the mutual benefits of a partnership: she could provide us with a space and her local family contacts, we would run a 10 week program to launch the community hub, reach more families and do home visits.

Every week Jo has joined our group sessions, generally helping out but mainly focusing on getting to know the local families and what they’d like to see happen in the future at the Community Hub. It’s been a great experience to have someone join the team who is rooted in the community and cares about making lasting changes. In September Jo will carry on running the playgroup we’ve established, in her own way, continuing to bring creative play to local families.

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The toilet training sailor moors up at Hook House desperate for a “wee”! – A hub session introducing games and action songs to support a less stressful toilet training experience.

We’ve also been working closely with Mary Devlin who runs the local Crown Lane Children’s Centre. Mary has been incredibly supportive; referring interested families from the Children’s Centre to us, and setting up meetings for us with the Centre’s outreach workers. She has also put us in touch with the local woman’s refuge who we will begin working with in September.

While it’s brilliant to have Mary’s support to send families our way, many local families are still unaware of or have never visited the Children’s Centre. For these families Creative Homes can act as a bridge; popping up right on their doorstep and, when they’re ready, signposting them to the wide range of services the Children’s Centre provides.

“Creative Homes have helped reach out to the families we most want to meet at Crown Lane Children’s Centre. Their involvement has helped to kickstart a playgroup on the estate so that families have the choice to keep their own group running on their doorstep, while knowing what the centre offers and that support from the Children’s Centre team is close by”. Mary Devlin, Crown Lane Children’s Centre Manager.

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Another important connection we’ve made is with Lambeth Living, the housing association who run the Holderness Estate. It’s clear that there are more ways we could work together beyond simply applying for and using Community Grants, for example the crossover points between our work and what their housing officers and outreach team do in family homes.

Our Hub sessions at Hook House finish next week with a special session taking families on a journey from the Hub to the Children’s Centre and finishing with a picnic on Streatham Common. After a short break we’ll be back in September to continue individual home visits and start work at the woman’s refuge. We will also be trialing how we can support sessions with outreach workers from Crown Lane Children’s Centre and taking referrals from outreach workers and resident participation officers at Lambeth Living.

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Each week we deliver balloon pack activities to families who don’t make it to the Hub, as a reminder of service and a little bit of creative play at home even if they can’t make it to the group sessions.

 

The number of families we can reach and support now has increased so much from our first hub at Church Manor. Creative Homes is definitely reaching families that are not accessing services elsewhere and building relationships, confidence and support for those families. But the strength of Hook House is the “network hub” approach: a true partnership where services work together as a team around the family. The result: a fully supported family who feel less stressed, more resilient and more connected.