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Council doubles funding for family support contract

Herefordshire Council is set to help local families by doubling the funding it gives to Home-Start, the voluntary family support service.

Home-Start Herefordshire has received funding from the council for the last ten years to help families who need some support through a befriending service.  This involves volunteers going into family homes and helping with issues like parenting, child behaviour problems, school attendance and debt management. 

Last year, the council had to manage with reduced budgets and as a result Home-Start’s funding was reduced.  The organisation was asked to change the way it helped families by offering a 12 week intervention programme instead of open-ended support.  Home-Start Herefordshire changed its approach and as a result, gave positive help and support to 55 families.  The new way of working has been so successful, that the council has now raised the bar and offered to double the money for double the number of families to be supported.

Councillor Jeremy Millar, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Home-Start’s volunteer workforce has given many families a real boost and helped them deal with issues at an early stage before things get out of hand.  We appreciate changing the way organisations work is challenging, but Home-Start has risen to the challenge and produced excellent, positive outcomes for our families.

“I am delighted that we have been able to double their funding and targets:  it is an investment well made as it prevents many families from requiring further support.  It also means that the council’s own family support workers are able to focus on those families who have greater challenges and need more intervention.”

Mandie Preece, scheme manager from Home-Start Herefordshire, added: “This new way of working has been a very positive experience for Home-Start Herefordshire and for the families receiving our befriending support. With the additional funding we shall be able to continue recruiting and training more volunteers and give help and support to even more vulnerable and fragile families throughout the county.”

Tags: Community and living