Up-2-Us to protect a service so crucial
Mum makes funding plea
A Balloch mum claims the loss of a service — which has supported over 400 families in West Dunbartonshire — will have a devastating affect on her son.
Linda McKeen is calling for urgent funding to be put in place for Up-2-Us Parents and Children’s Change Project, which has been running for the past seven years.
The initiative, which works to keep families together, is set to close after funding dried up.
Linda said it has been a lifeline for her 12-year-old son Jordan, who built up a close relationship with his key worker.
She said: “Jordan has always had difficulty in controlling his emotions from an early age, continuing throughout primary school and now first year at high school.
“In Primary 6, his primary school teachers felt he would he would benefit from Up-2-Us. It was here Jordan met Jennifer, his one-toone worker, and was introduced to this amazing group.
“He meets with her once a week and she also visits me once a week to work on his progress. “Since starting he has been introduced to kids and their families who are in similar circumstances and has progressed greatly.
“As a family, we rely on this group to help us interact like a family, as Jordan heavily relies on Jennifer and her encouragement helps him. We really are frightened as to what the future holds.”
The project was launched in 2009 with lottery funding and worked closely with West Dunbartonshire Council’s social work and education departments.
It works to keep families together, reduce statutory involvement and promotes social inclusion with initiatives like parent and child cookery classes and football training.
Millie McLachlan, project manager, confirmed funding is coming to an end in June but said further cash may be made available later this year.
She said: “We have supported almost 400 families in the past seven years and we would have hoped to have continued.
“There are a few families who will require ongoing support and we are liaising with the local authorities to ensure there is a support plan in place for them.
“With the continued tightening of belts, all charities are finding it harder to raise much needed funds.
“We might have some further funding this year from the Big Lottery, around £47,000, and we have £20,000 in donations and small applications. We still require a further £85,000 to provide a service to children and young people in the area.”
She agreed that the service has been valuable across the area, continuing: “Many of the families we have worked with have few male role models within the home, some are dealing with abuse or domestic violence, self-harming, some carers have drug or alcohol problems or children with addictions.
“We provide 1-2-1 focused mentoring, 24/7 crisis support for those we work with, linking home and school and supporting the whole family.
“Our aim is to improve school attendance and behaviour and support parents to be more confident in their parenting. Children are more able to talk to professionals appropriately, home life is more bearable for everyone and families enjoy spending time together doing fun things.”
A council spokeswoman said the local authority is supporting the charity’s funding bids, saying: “We value the support Up-to-Us offers in West Dunbartonshire and are pleased that the agency has committed to continuing to work with parents and children in the area.”
Linda says she is holding out for the funding to continue, adding: “All I want is for my son to be happy and feel safe and supported. “ithout the much needed support I really do look at the future with fear, anguish and to go back to feeling helpless fills me with dread as I am unsure of what the future now holds for Jordan.
“He had come so far in his time spent with Jennifer and these cuts may just undo all the hard work and effort we have all put in.”
As a family, we rely on the group for support