Troubled families get help to change lives

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More than 80 struggling families in Blackpool have been helped by a Government scheme to improve their lives.

The Troubled Families programme gives money to Lancashire County Council for every family whose lives it helps to improve.

So far, County Hall chiefs have been able to claim £427,000 for successfully working with 734 families.

Troubled families are deemed to be those which are involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour, have children who are regularly playing truant, have an adult on out-of-work benefits and cost the public sector in responding to their problems – an estimated average of £75,000 per year.

In Blackpool, 515 troubled families have been identified.

By June this year 287 of them have been worked with and 86 are said to have turned their lives around in the last 15 months.

One Blackpool family was involved in the project because of issues around school attendance, criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.

The teenage daughter within the family was easily distracted when at school and her friends were involved in crime around the area.

The girl’s mum had lost her job and was having trouble searching for a new one because she struggled with reading and writing.

Blackpool Council offered intensive support to help deal with their issues.

The mother was given help to develop her skills so she could move back into employment, leading to her gaining her first qualifications and boosting her confidence.

The support team also helped the child improve relationships with her school

Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for children’s services said: “We worked with the school and our partner agencies to help build up a support package that fitted in with the needs of the young person.”

Coun Riding added: “We also worked proactively around improving confidence and the importance of building healthy relationships with people, as it had been noted that the young person often was in situations of criminality and anti-social behaviour because of the people she associated with.”

The mother also started to attend sessions at the gym, providing her with more positive activity.

As a result of the support offered to the family, the woman is now working in a local supermarket.

She is also still attending courses at college and is hoping to continue to complete more courses.

The teenager has now completed school and is now enrolled at a local college, where she is completing a course that will enable her to move into employment on completion.

Coun Riding said: “I’m pleased to say that, as a result of the family engaging with more positive activities and thanks to the council’s work, anti-social behaviour and criminality incidents from the family have now stopped.”

The scheme and its results have today been welcomed by a Revoe community leader.

Julie Bascombe, chairman of Revoe Area Forum, said it was a good project, as long as it continued to help all the troubled families of Blackpool.

She said: “If this is help being given to families to try and improve, then that’s great. But what about all those families who are still struggling?

“This is a good idea if everyone is getting a fair crack at the whip.

“There is always more we can do to help families who are struggling for reasons that is not their fault, but a lot should be done to encourage them to help themselves so the scheme can move onto the next 85 families who are struggling.”