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£10m lifeline for troubled families in Blackburn and Darwen
2:00pm Monday 18th June 2012 in News
SCHEMES to help more than 2,000 troubled East Lancashire families climb out of poverty, deprivation and chaos look set to be given more than £10 million over three years under a new government initiative.
Blackburn-with-Darwen Council and Lancashire County have both signed up to a new Whitehall initiative which would give them up to £4,000 for every successful intervention.
The government believes that the project, aimed at breaking the cycle of deprivation which often involves crime, addiction and child care involvements, would pay for itself by cutting the £9 billion a year spend on just 120,000 troubled families across England in terms of NHS, police, benefits and social services.
In Blackburn, some 465 such families - 30 of which are currently being helped by the council’s “Think Family” initiative - could benefit by £1.8million being spent on initiatives.
Lancashire County is hopeful that the “Working with Families” project - currently engaging with more than 20 in Burnley and three other test areas - could be expanded to include 2,500 families, bringing in government funding to the tune of more than £10 million.
In East Lancashire that would affect more than 1,500 families, 425 in Burnley, 373 in Pendle, 294 in Rossendale, 399 in Hyndburn, 57 in Ribble Valley and 162 in Chorley.
Blackburn with Darwen Council’s cabinet member for children’s services Maureen Bateson, said: “This will help us to build on the existing good work that is already going on across the borough. We will be working with approximately 465 families.
“Turning troubled families around means getting children back into school, reducing crime, anti-social behaviour and getting parents back into work or onto a training programme.
“We want to help them contribute positively to society and break the destructive cycle of crime, unemployment and anti-social behaviour.”
Helen Denton, Lancashire County Council’s director for children and young people, said: “We will be combining the requirements of the national scheme with our own programme ‘Working Together Families’.
“We are very enthusiastic about using this opportunity to make a positive difference to the family life and futures of children and young people in Lancashire.”
Service changes lives
MUM-OF-FOUR Linda Davidson, said her life had been turned around after her local council stepped in.
Linda, 42, who lives with her two sons Brian and Thomas Cooke, 18 and 16, and daughter Cara Davidson, four, was suffering from depression when she got involved with the Think Family service.
She said: “I didn’t realise how depressed I was and my health was deteriorating. I was referred by my sons’ school, Blakewater College, because Brian was misbehaving.”
Linda, of Ripon Street, Blackburn, was visited by Social Services and enrolled on the programme. She had counselling to identify her problems and eventually things got better.
Linda said: “Since I had kids it was always about them, but the counselling gave me time to think about myself.
“I have now enrolled on a professional catering course at Blackburn College and I am a lot happier, more relaxed, and I don’t stress out as much.”
Linda has completed literacy and numeracy courses, as well as sign up for the catering course.
She intends to start doing the Level Three catering course next year.