The pressures faced by Hartlepool’s new parents and parents of children with additional needs was in the spotlight at a special conference.
Those two groups are statistically more prone to relationship breakdown, and the day-long event – called ‘Relationships Matter in Hartlepool’ – aimed to raise awareness of this, explore the reasons why and share best practice on how to help them.
The conference – at the Centre for Excellence in Creative Arts (CECA) in King Oswy Drive - brought together over 80 people from a wide range of Hartlepool agencies including Hartlepool Borough Council representatives, schools, health visitors, social workers, charities and parents.
Among those taking part will be Hartlepool councillor Brenda Harrison, chair of the Children’s Strategic Partnership, and Dr Crispin Day, Head of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Research Unit, Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London.
The event was organised by the Healthy Relationships Partnership Hartlepool – a partnership between Changing Futures North-East, Hartlepool Borough Council, the Bob Farrow Centre and Tavistock Relationships – and OneHartOneFutureOneMind, an umbrella group for parents for children with additional needs.
The Healthy Relationships Partnership is funded by the Early Action Neighbourhood Fund, the Big Lottery Fund, Comic Relief and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.
Jayne Moules, project lead for the Healthy Relationships Partnership Hartlepool, said: “Because of the particular pressures they face, new parents and parents of children with additional needs are more vulnerable to relationship breakdowns, and they tell us that sometimes they don’t know where to turn to get the right help.
“The conference will give people the chance to share research, ideas and experience so that hopefully together we can find better ways of providing support. We’ll also be using the event to launch a new advice section to strengthen relationships on our website at www.hrphartlepool.co.uk.”
Christine Fewster, chief executive of Hartlepool Carers and the lead for OneHartOneFutureOneMind, added: “We are really pleased to be working in partnership to raise parents’ awareness and provide skills and resources to practitioners to help address this important issue.”
Coun Brenda Harrison said: “In Hartlepool we pride ourselves on doing our utmost to help give our children the best possible start in life, and that includes supporting parents who are most at risk of relationship breakdown.
“I am delighted that so many local specialists and ‘front line’ staff are attending this important event and sharing their knowledge.
"Together, I am sure, we can make a difference.”