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Call for community groups to help support struggling families

Herefordshire community groups are being asked to help support struggling families in the county.

Herefordshire Council is offering to fund projects that complement the council’s successful Families First programme which aims to help the most chaotic and struggling families in Herefordshire.

The grant scheme announced today (Monday 8 September) will provide between £5,000 and £50,000 to community based projects that propose innovative ways to help families affected by issues such as mental health, parental substance misuse or domestic abuse.

The Herefordshire Families First programme helps support families with such issues including truancy from school, worklessness, crime and anti-social behaviour.

These are families who both have problems and often cause problems in their local communities.

Young people and children’s wellbeing cabinet member Councillor Jeremy Millar expects the grant scheme to make a real difference to the lives of children and young people in the county. 

He said:

“The Families First programme has proved its worth already. Along with our partners we have worked with 199 families in the county since 2012. For 47 per cent of them, the children’s attendance at school has improved and in 43 per cent of the families the crime and anti-social behaviour rates have reduced.

“Our top priority is keeping children and young people safe and giving them a great start in life. I really think that local voluntary and community organisations can help us do even better in the future. I hope that groups and organisations with good ideas will apply for funding, so we can all work together to support the most troubled families in the county.”

For more information on the grant scheme and to apply, visit: 

Below is a case study which highlights the positive work of the Families First programme: 

In the Smith household things were very difficult. Paul, the dad of the family, was very angry and aggressive and there was a lot of domestic abuse occurring in the family home.

Paul’s aggressive behavior allowed his two children, Mia and Lewis to think it was acceptable for them to verbally and physically abuse their mum, Michelle.

Mia and Lewis started playing truant and their behaviour at school made life very difficult for their classmates and teachers.

They start to receive short term exclusions from school and the police became involved.

Michelle found it increasingly difficult to set effective boundaries for the children and was unable to keep them safe.

The Smith family was referred to the Families First Programme.

They were assigned Jo a family support worker employed by the council. Jo talked to each member of the family about their needs and put a detailed plan of action in place and agreed it with Paul and Michelle.

The whole family followed the action plan with Jo’s help.

Mia and Lewis have been attending school more often.

They have stopped being excluded from school and are no longer in trouble with the police.

Because Jo worked alongside the family they trusted her and she was able to challenge them to change their behaviour.

“Jo never judged us” said Michelle “She supported me. Which meant I could make the changes that were needed”

“I feel happier” said Lewis

“I’m not so angry” said Mia

(the names have been changed to protect the family’s identity)

Tags: Health and social care