Building resilient families in Cornwall

Family is the single most important influence in a child's life and that was the message behind an event held in Truro. The Resilient Families conference, which was organised by Cornwall Council, brought together community safety, the voluntary sector and teams from the housing, education and health sector to discuss best practice and what more can be done to support families across the county.

The event was organised by the Head of Partnerships, Innovation and Wellbeing at Cornwall Council, Charlotte Hill, she said: “From their first moments of life, children depend on parents, family, carers and communities to protect them and provide for their needs. These form a child's first relationships, experiences and they are a child's first teachers and act as role models in how to act and how to experience the world around them.

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“Being parent is not always easy and sometimes families need a bit of help to access the support they need. The aim of the day was to bring together partner organisation and to evaluate what we are doing well and to identify new ways of working.   We want to give children in Cornwall the best start in life and by supporting families; we can help them to unlock their true potential.”

Under One Vision, the multi-agency partnership plan for children, young people and their families, all the agencies working with children in Cornwall believe that greater integration is the best way of improving the effectiveness of services. This conference was about bringing together those partners, along with other organisations, to share ideas and to create stronger and more resilient families.  

Chief Executive of the Charity ECCABI, John Ede, said: “It’s a very complex situation in Cornwall because there are a lot of hidden problems in the rural areas. That makes events like this absolutely essential; Cornwall is long and thin and it takes a long time to get from end to the other, which makes sharing good practice even more important.”  

Jon says the rural nature of Cornwall can make people feel isolated and that we need to look at issues on a local level. “One of the other issues we need to consider, is that Cornwall may be one county, but our communities are very different.  So we can’t paint all of our problems with just one colour - you need to address specific issues in specific places.”

Housing was also on the agenda, with a presentation from housing organisations including Ocean Housing, Cornwall Housing, Live West and Coastline.

Head of Housing Strategy and Partnerships at Cornwall Council, Mel Bray, added: “I think it has a huge role. Because housing is the stable plank, if you get it right that underpins education, work and health. Poor housing can make all of those fall over for a family, so getting the housing right can give them the best start in life.

“This is a great way for us to share best practice and to hear what other people have to offer, so that we can link into those services if we need them.  It also enables us to share what we can offer and do to create resilient families.”

The event was held on the same day as International Children’s Day; which celebrates 30 years of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Children’s Rights Officer at Cornwall Council, Katherine Ennever added: “This convention is the widest ratified statement on children’s rights in the world. I’m asking people today to think about how they can promote and uphold children’s rights across Cornwall and how that will improve their lives, by helping to share their voice.”