BBC Children in Need and THF have announced an ambitious £2m partnership in Scotland which they hope will transform young people’s lives and prove a model of intervention that can be adopted at scale across Scotland and beyond. In the first phase of the partnership, £1m will be allocated to Dundee City Council to fund a three-year project with an initial focus on supporting young people in Lochee. Further funding awards will be announced shortly.
Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need, said: “We believe that children and young people can overcome many challenges in their lives, given the right support. This funding will make a real difference to young people at risk of being taken into care.
“Through a holistic approach that involves engaging with families, local communities and schools, support networks can be established and any problems can be identified early on – before young people enter the care system. Importantly, the programme will be tailored to the needs of the children and their families, as expressed by them.”
Announcing the partnership Sir Tom Hunter commented:
“We need to switch from treatment of a problem to preventing it in the first place, the human and economic cost of a young person entering the care system is often very poor.
We spend a lot and it shows we have a heart but the outcome for too many kids is just not good enough.”
“So we will work with enlightened Local Authorities and charities that recognise we need to build the solution up from the young person, the family and the community, understanding top down services are simply inefficient and often don’t work; remodelling delivery as we go.
“The ambition is to prove a model that not only saves money and lives but can be taken to scale in the hope enlightened self-interest from Local Authorities – given a young person in residential care costs more than £2,000 per week and the savings made in a child’s lifetime may be in excess of £400,000 – will empower them to adopt a new model of support for young people and their families.”
In the first Local Authority partnership with Dundee City Council, £1 million is being targeted at Lochee to help improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families.
The three-year project is being jointly funded by BBC Children in Need and The Hunter Foundation. The funding will support the development of a programme aimed at identifying issues within families that lead to children going into care, as well as developing and implementing support to prevent children entering the care system, wherever possible.
Dundee City Council’s children and families committee will hear on Monday (14 May) that the initial focus will be in Lochee, and work will be undertaken with six local primary schools and a range of partners.
Committee convener Councillor Gregor Murray said: “This is an exciting and innovative development that will build on our work around the approach of Getting it Right for Every Child.
“I would like to thank the Hunter Foundation and BBC Children in Need for their confidence in working with the council and other partners.
“This new project will see an active engagement with the community to help improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families.
“I hope that as many people as possible can feel the benefits of these new approaches by the council and our partners and I look forward to hearing how it progresses.”
The committee will hear that there will be a particular focus on identifying problems early to prevent children entering the care system, wherever possible, and in partnership with children, young people and families, ensuring relevant and meaningful supports are in place.
If successful, the authority will consider how it could be scaled across the whole of Dundee with long term savings targeted towards preventative services.
If agreed, a report update will be provided to committee in a year’s time. The primary schools involved are Ancrum Road, Camperdown, St Ninian’s, St Mary’s, St Clement’s and Tayview.