Thousands of Scotland’s most disadvantaged children, young people and families are set to benefit from £15 million new funding over the next year, Aileen Campbell has announced.
The Scottish Government will invest £10 million to continue the Third Sector Early Intervention Fund for 2015-16 to support voluntary groups working to give children the best start in life, for example through projects to tackle poverty, promote parenting skills and encourage family support for learning.
An additional £5 million will be made available to allow strategic funding partnerships (SFPs) that were established in 2013 to help the government and public sector partners improve outcomes for young people and their families to be extended through to spring 2016.
Ms Campbell, Minister for Children and Young People said:
“We are working to give every child in Scotland the best start in life. That’s why we’re extending funded early learning and childcare, making free school meals available for every child in P1 to P3 and strengthening how public services work together to support children and families and ensure our most disadvantaged young people are not left behind.
“We’re also committed to supporting a capable, sustainable and enterprising third sector. This new funding will help deliver a wide range of projects to support families and empower communities, improving the life chances of children across the country and moving us closer to our shared vision of making Scotland the best place to grow up.”
A £20 million Third Sector Early Intervention Fund was established in early 2013, with 96 awards made for a range of organisations and projects. A further 45 organisations received support through SFPs to enhance or develop work focussed on supporting the needs of young people and their families. Both funding streams run over two years, up to March 2015.
One of those groups currently funded, One Parent Families Scotland has received a total of £709,284 from the Third Sector Early Intervention Fund.
OPFS Director Satwat Rehman commented: “We received core funding which has been invaluable in ensuring we can have the information, advice and systems in place across the organisation to work with single parents and their children and respond to the issues they tell us they need support with such as debt and money advice, family and parenting support and childcare, ultimately improving outcomes for children at greatest risk of not achieving their potential due to the effects of poverty.
“We also received project funding to work with single fathers and contact fathers to work with them and help them support their children through positive activities and interactions as well as support the fathers to be more involved in local activities and groups thereby reducing the isolation they and their children experience”.
Among other projects currently being supported are Mellow Parenting, which has been able to establish eight new Dad’s groups across Scotland to improve parental attachment between fathers and their children; Mind Mosaic, which has provided play therapy to 25 children and young people and family support to 32 parents/carers and 9 kinship carers; and Dyslexia Scotland, which is providing high-quality advice, support and information to young people, and those who support them. The funding has also been able to support organisations to work in partnership to add value to their activities. So far well over 3,500 families facing significant challenges have been supported.