We want all children to be school ready by the time they enter the classroom for the first time. In order to achieve that health and social care professionals, councils and education providers must all work together to help families with complex problems build stable home lives for their children.


This is already happening across Greater Manchester with the introduction of Start Well. Start Well workers make home visits to offer advice and support and can link parents to appropriate services and projects.

Early intervention can make a huge difference to a family, who despite their best effort may be struggling. The experience of one Wigan Family shows just how big a change Start Well workers can make:

Ryan and Joanna are teenage parents, after being found housing for themselves and their nine-month-old daughter Emma, they began to have problems with their neighbours who were noisy. They did not want to cause a fuss or exacerbate the problem by speaking with authorities. This left them feeling isolated in their new home.

Early in baby Emma’s life a health visitor had seen the family and saw that they needed some extra support.

A Start Well worker became involved with the family and felt that by having a ‘different conversation’ she could identify and build on their strengths. The worker recognised that although the family had challenges they were coping with big changes.

Identifying both Ryan and Joanne’s aspirations helped the Start Well worker create a ‘support offer’ based around the whole family, involving a number of multi-agency professionals.

Both parents have been supported to access sessions with Emma in their local community, coordinated by the Start Well Family Centre. The impact of these sessions has helped with Emma’s development.

Joanne and Ryan were also suffering with poor mental health, so the Start Well worker put them in touch with counselling services.

During this period Ryan was trying to get back into work and has attended a number of training courses. He has also received guidance on updating his CV from the supported employment team working in the community.

Joanne is now looking to undertake an Open University course and has even signed up to become a Start Well volunteer.

The help from the Start Well worker has helped build the confidence of both Ryan and Joanne, which benefits their daughter enormously. They have begun to build new friendships and feel more comfortable in their neighbourhood – turning their house into a family home.

Start Well is now helping families like Ryan, Joanna and Emma across Greater Manchester.



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