Embedding a restorative approach in an innovative service providing intensive child and family support and a co-produced community centre


CUBE is a new multi-agency family support community-based service in one Welsh local authority area. 

CUBE delivers an evidenced-based, co-productive intensive family support service to and for the community it serves. The nature of the services offered were identified by a lengthy consultation with the community that  indicated what they wanted:

•   A place to help families in need or affected by isolation or loneliness

•  A place where support is under one roof, rather family members using different services 

•   Activities for community members of all ages run in day and evenings 

•   A place offering support / information or just a coffee that runs beyond working hours 

•   A place where everyone can feel a part of something.

To best meet these criteria, CUBE brought together services for families affected by substance misuse, domestic violence, mental health problems and/or bereavement. The support offered is embedded in a multi-agency hub within the community which incorporates these core services and further supportive services that extend beyond counselling, family mediation and support to debt advice, adult education; art therapy; cookery; life coaching; parenting. 

While these services are for use by the families referred, they are also there for  the wider community. To facilitate this  CUBE has been developed as a community centre and resource that offers facilities such as a community café, sporting events, hot desks, ‘men’s sheds’, day and evening ‘drop ins,’ and peer to peer networks on an everyday basis.

In-line with the co-production ethos of CUBE, the developers have adopted a restorative approach for all staff, partner agencies and clients and see this as central to successful implementation. During this project, researchers with deep knowledge of a Restorative Approach and Co-production intend to work with CUBE to ensure that co-productive and restorative approaches shape the services and centre as intended. The research team will also help CUBE identify and implement appropriate outcome measures. Update: Current requirements for social distancing means that these plans are currently temporarily adapted to online and outdoor delivery, however the intention is for as many of the activities to be delivered as originally planned when this becomes possible within COVID-19 regulations. However even with  COVID-19 restrictions in place, CUBE is offering programmes of support via virtual groups and face to face meeting when possible.

Activities and Methods

CUBE is a new initiative and for many a Restorative Co-Productive Approach will be a new ethos and process. 

While all those working in or with the centre have undertaken a Restorative Approach training course, how this translates into service delivery and receipt, everyday interactions and the ethos of CUBE is unknown. In light of this the project has a number of core aims: 

• To support CUBE in their interpretation of a restorative approach and translate this into a service model

•  To help CUBE operate and deliver services in accordance with the restorative model developed 

•  To support CUBE in developing and implementing the model with a co-production/well-being focus

• To explore the extent of community involvement in the development and implementation of CUBE

• To explore the acceptability of the service to the community and whether it is perceived as a service developed and run with the community

• To work with CUBE to consider, select and implement evaluative measures to allow in-house service evaluation 

• Provide evidence and guidance regarding the service model applied in CUBE to ascertain its strengths and challenges for wider implementation in Wales and beyond

To achieve this, researchers will work closely with CUBE. During secondments researchers will share learning via knowledge exchange to support successful implementation of CUBE’s overarching co-productive approach using a restorative framework. It will also generate new data regarding the first establishment of a multi-agency restorative, co-produced, community-based intensive support for children and families in Wales. 


The project aims and objectives will be achieved through:

Planned and ad hoc discussions with staff members and groups who provide the CUBE services 

Planned and ad hoc discussions with a range of clients from the community focused on experiences and views of CUBE support. 

Observation of the CUBE centre in operation and participation in centre activities and tasks. If this is not possible due to COVID and CUBE policy, researchers will take part in virtual CUBE activities.This work will produce a revised co-produced CUBE model which will then be used within the organisation. This model will form the base of future evaluation activities informed by the researchers which aim to assess the services effectiveness. 


Key findings and recommendations:

  • A restorative co-productive approach has been used to develop CUBE
  • Implementation also employs the approaches, but their use is more apparent in some settings than others
  • The community have voiced a desire for extended services and must be included in honest discussions about what can be provided and co-produce how to make it happen
  • There can be a more holistic use of restorative tools and ethos
  • There is a tension between business/social agency roles
  • Further communication and empathy are needed between CUBE and some partner agencies
  • Communication with staff at multiple levels in partner agencies would aid collaborative working
  • Amongst staff and volunteers, restorative approach training increases understanding of the ethos and tools of the approach

Lead Person

Principal InvestigatorDr Annie Williams

Academic Staff

Academic StaffDr Hannah Bayfield
Academic StaffDr Jen Lyttleton-Smith
Related partnersCUBE stakeholder and the community they serve
FundersESRC/CUBE Lottery Fund