Family support scheme to expand

A scheme helping families change their lives for the better has been highlighted as one of the best of its kind in the country and is to be expanded.

‘Supporting Families’, led by North Tyneside Council, is the local version of the national Troubled Families initiative that works with families most in need of help and support.

So far, the council and its partners have helped more than 300 local families to turn their lives around.

The programme’s mantra is ‘one worker, one plan, one family’ – where whole households are allocated an individual support worker, called a ‘Family Partner’.

This partner then works intensively with the family to make a plan for change, which the whole family must commit to.

North Tyneside’s success has led to it being included in the next phase of the Government programme, which will be expanded to include more families.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “This extension is really great news as the scheme is something we are incredibly proud of.

“Here in North Tyneside we’re working hard to change people’s lives for the better. Problems rarely affect just one member of a family – everyone needs to be involved if real, long term change is to happen.

“The success we are having shows that taking a ‘tough love’ approach really does work. We are finding that many of our troubled families are now at peace; truanting children are back at school; unemployed parents are in work; crime and disorder is reduced and communities are restored.”

North Tyneside Council employs the equivalent of 24 full time Family Partners who go into a home to understand what is happening and establish what the family needs.

Since the start of the scheme in 2012, the authority has identified and is working with 460 families. It has already turned around 68 per cent of them and is continuing to work with the remainder, as well as identify more.