Funding means more of the right help at the right time for families

A £600k funding injection over three years from Somerset County Council and some great partnership working means more vulnerable families in Somerset will receive the help and support they need.

The Somerset Early Help Fund has been launched and promoted by the Somerset Community Foundation in partnership with the County Council.

It is working with community groups and volunteers to deliver support for families over the next three years, ensuring they get the help they need before problems escalate into a crisis.

Following a bidding process earlier in the year, SCF has now allocated £200k per year between raft of organisations that will work directly with families and

help improve lives. The aim is to enhance the voluntary sector’s capacity and further develop early help work directly with communities.

Organisations will be brought together in an ‘early help alliance’ to share good ideas and ways to improve Somerset’s early help approach.

Some of those to benefit from funding include:

  • Home Start in West Somerset, which provides volunteer/befriending support to around 75 families per year who are struggling, including 127 children. Support will include helping parents access training/work opportunities.
  • The Balsam Centre – providing one-to-one and group interventions with families who are struggling in South Somerset East, preventing escalation of need with a variety of skilled interventions. They’ll be offering a range of support including life schools for older children and young people.
  • Yeovil Community Church – continuing the Yeovil4Families project, which aims to turn the tide of family breakdown and help children prosper.

“There is no shame in asking for help when you’re struggling – most of us who are parents experience some kind of difficulty somewhere along the way. We want to make sure people who need it get the right help at the right time,” said Councillor Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services.

“Early Help is there for those parents facing problems which could escalate into something more serious if they are not dealt with now. This funding has expanded our offer in Somerset and is ensuring more families get the specialist help they need from skilled organisations working in partnership with the communities they serve.”

Andrew Ridgewell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation, said: “We’re really delighted to have allocated this year’s funding to a range of brilliant providers. Getting help to families as soon as possible is crucial and this funding and partnership working will ensure more families get the support they need from the organisations they feel comfortable about approaching in their own communities.”

Here’s a short video which tells you a little bit more about Early Help and what it is.