Up-2-Us to pro­tect a ser­vice so cru­cial

Mum makes fund­ing plea

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Jenny Foulds

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

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