Families helped to improve lives

STAFF dedicated to working with South Holland’s most difficult families are “ahead of the game” in relation to the relaunch of a government programme this week.

Lincolnshire County Council is being asked by the Government to work with troubled families to help reduce things like anti-social behaviour, drug misuse, crime, school absence and health problems. Government funding will be made available if they can prove they are making a difference.

But the authority says its Families Working Together team is already helping 100 families in the county to turn their lives around.

Children’s services executive Coun Patricia Bradwell said: “We are already ahead of the game in this area. As part of a two-year government community budgets pilot, we have been helping families with complex needs sort out their problems.

“Our Families Working Together pilot has involved working with 60 families at any one time and 21 families have successfully existed the service with their lives turned around. We have worked with a total of 100 families in total.”

Coun Bradwell said the project is helping to save large amounts of public money – potentially £1million annual savings and one-off savings of £5.4million.

Home-Start South Holland will be looking for a new cash injection when a five-year community scheme set up with £282,896 Big Lottery Fund cash comes to an end in August.

Based in Holbeach St Marks, it uses volunteers to provide support, friendship and practical help to families with children under five.

Senior co-ordinator Mary Hutson said: “The Government is targeting families with much higher needs. Our work is to prevent situations in families getting that bad.”

Leader of South Holland District Council Coun Gary Porter is welcoming the Government programme.

He said: “These families are ruining their own lives and are a nightmare for their neighbours. We will support it any way we can.”