Renfrewshire’s innovative Families First programme has been given long-term commitment as the Council’s budget for 2018/19 was approved.
An investment of £5million will be put into a new five-year Tackling Poverty programme that will deliver initiatives that have been proven to make the most difference to people’s lives.
The announcement secures the Families First core teams in Gallowhill, Foxbar and Johnstone, ensuring families who need that bit extra are supported long-term.
Hundreds of families across Renfrewshire have benefitted from the holistic approach of Families First since it first began with the Ferguslie and Linwood teams in 2013.
The family-friendly free service takes a ‘walking together with families’ approach and supports families to maximise their income and manage debt.
(Left to Right) Front Deborah Clark, Kelly McGarvey and daughter Isla McDonald, Sharon Sharp, Janet Geddes and Katrina Little of Families First Johnstone.
Back: Headteacher Jacqui McBurnie, Provost and Depute Education Convener, Cllr Lorraine Paterson, and Education Convener, Cllr Jim Paterson.
Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “We’ve made a commitment to Renfrewshire’s most vulnerable families by ensuring this valuable programme is secured for the long-term.
“Families First has helped support hundreds of families since it began and the new £5million Tackling Poverty programme will ensure we continue to support families when they need it.
“In-work poverty is a significant issue that many families face. Low-income families are struggling to make ends meet and this has an impact on their own life chances as well as their children.
“We want to ensure every child, regardless of their background, is given the best chance in life to reach their full potential and supporting the family is essential to raising attainment for all and closing the poverty-related attainment gap.
“The holistic approach of Families First ensures our communities have the support they need to thrive and our children achieve success in school and enter positive destinations after leaving school.”
Pupils from disadvantaged background have also been give long-term support with the continuation of the Cost of the School Day fund, breakfast clubs, school counselling and other projects that support health and wellbeing.
Clothing grant payments will also increase to £70 per eligible child to help parents buy school uniforms.
Support for StreetStuff and the mobile library service known as the Skoobmobile have been confirmed for the next five years as well as claimant support, advice services and digital inclusion support to help people access support to manage their finances.
Councillor Paterson continued: “Ensuring everyone has access to the same opportunities that will improve their lives is vital and supports our commitment for all of Renfrewshire to thrive.”