“It’s ok to ask for help” – that’s the message from organisations and agencies across Somerset who have a part to play in supporting children and families.
It’s not unusual for many families to find themselves struggling at some stage. And, it’s important that those families feel confident enough to come forward and ask for that bit of help that can help them get back on track.
“Bringing up a family is a difficult job”, said Councillor Frances Nicholson, Lead Member for Children’s Services. “If we’re honest, I doubt if many of us can say hand on heart that there weren’t moments when we wanted some help and support.
“Often support can come from family and friends. If for whatever reason that doesn’t happen, we want to remind people that it’s OK to ask for help when you need it. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness.”
There is a whole network of organisations and agencies which can work together to provide that support, including the County Council, health, police, schools and district councils.
You might need nothing more than pointing in the right direction for information and advice, or they might by able to organise practical help – whether that’s support with getting a reluctant child to school, help understand what benefits you may be entitled to, or tackling anti-social behaviours that are disturbing your homelife.
This ‘early help’ support for families with children aged 0 – 25 is about people working for all kinds of different organisations working together to prevent small issues becoming bigger ones.
Anyone who thinks they might need that extra help can start by speaking to any of the professionals they come into contact with – their GP, nursery worker, a teacher, a PCSO, a youth worker; anyone. Or, you can visit the Somerset Choices website https://choices.somerset.gov.uk/025/ or contact Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224.
The first step is an Early Help Assessment, a single document that all agencies in Somerset work with so you shouldn’t have to tell your story more than once.
Through a conversation it is used to capture what’s going well, what could be going better, and what issues are most important to you and your family.
Cllr Nicholson said: “You wouldn’t think twice about going to your GP if you or your child was ill, or taking your car to the garage if your car wasn’t working. Asking for help if you feel being a good parent is a struggle is the right thing to do, it means you’re giving your family, and you, the best possible chance to thrive and be healthy and happy.
“There are lots of professionals and organisations working together who can give you that early help so you can get back on track.”
You can find an early help information leaflet here (Link to the parent leaflet) and information about all the different support and help that’s available in the county can be found on the Somerset Choices website https://choices.somerset.gov.uk/025/