Children 1st joins Food Facts Friends in supporting families at new Midlothian community hub

A new community hub to support children and families has opened in Midlothian - and we’re delighted to be one of the key partners in this lifeline project.

The Food Facts Friends Community Hub was officially opened in Penicuik last week by local MSP Michelle Ballantyne
Based in John Street and founded by local foodbank manager Mark Wells, the hub offers families a safe space where they can access ‘whole family’ practical, emotional and financial support from a range of partners including Children 1st. 
Mark says he’s delighted to be working alongside Children 1st to support children and families. 
He said: “Now that the Hub is up and running, it will bring new services to the town and the area. As Project Co-ordinator, I’m delighted to be working with Children 1st, who will offer money advice in the form of help with electricity bills, rent, council tax and unmanageable debt - along with other advice. A valuable service to the community.” 
Children 1st has worked alongside Mark and the local foodbank for a number of years, offering holistic family support, including money advice. 
Now Mark has expanded the foodbank into a community hub involving partners across health and social care including Children 1st to offer families a safe space where they will be listened to and supported in a way which doesn’t feel overwhelming. 
Johnny Costello, Service Manager, Children 1st Midlothian said the new Food Facts Friends hub is a wonderful addition for the community of Penicuik, providing a welcoming space where people can access the support they need, when they need it.
He said: “The Food Facts Friends Community Hub gives families in Penicuik a central, safe space for help and support with whatever they face. Children 1st is delighted to be offering children and families both financial and emotional support through the hub. By working in partnership we can help families get the support they need, when they need it, to help children live in happier, stronger families.” 
Money advice is often the first thing that families are looking for and this can provide a way in to offering their wider family support which understands what other supports they may need as a family and builds a relationship with them that allows us to form trust and make progress at a pace which feels right for them.
We will also use the space in the hub to develop support groups run by peer support workers.
When coronavirus restrictions ease, we also plan to organise family minded activities and individual support.