Leeds to get £8 million to help turn families lives around

A scheme to help over 2,000 troubled families in Leeds turn their lives around is being launched this week.

Families First Leeds, an initiative funded through the Government’s Troubled Families scheme, will tackle anti-social behaviour, improve school attendance and support parents to move into work over the next three years.

Leeds City Council is an early adopter of the scheme and will launch ‘Families First’ on Thursday 6 September with Louise Casey CB, the Director General for the national Troubled Families team, as the keynote speaker.

Media Opportunity:
When: Thursday 6 September at 1pm – 1.20pm for interviews (the event begins at 1.30pm, no interviews will be available after 1.20pm).
Where: John Charles Centre for Sport, Middleton Grove, LS11 5DJ
Members of the media are invited to attend the launch of Families First Leeds. Interviews will be available with Louise Casey, Cllr Judith Blake and Nigel Richardson.

Leeds has secured up to £8 million in funding over the next three years and it is estimated that around 2,000 families will benefit from the additional support to help reduce offending, improve attainment and raise aspirations.

The launch event, at the John Charles Centre for Sport, will be opened by Councillor Judith Blake, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s services. With Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services and Jim Hopkinson, head of targeted services also speaking at the event.
All speakers will form a panel for a question and answer session with the audience of 130 professionals, from a range of organisations who are responsible for working with troubled families including; the police, health, probation, schools, housing and job centre plus, as well as professionals from Leeds City Council.

Councillor Judith Blake, chair of Families First Leeds programme board and executive board member for children’s services said:
“This is an ambitious programme offering the opportunity to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable families. With this funding we will be able to help families tackle the root of their problems, which can too often spiral out of control and affect future generations.

“Families First Leeds will build on existing good practice across the city and bring all agencies and council services together. The additional support we’ll be able to offer vulnerable families will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the whole community.”

Louise Casey CB, Director General for the national Troubled Families team, said;
"Across the country we are committed to turning around the lives of 120,000 troubled families. In Leeds there are 2190 families who will be targeted to get help to change. This is important because at the moment, local services like police, health and schools currently spend a large amount of time and money dealing with the problems these families have and cause - each family costing tax payers around £75,000 per year on average, and that's without getting to the root causes of their problems and helping them change for good. For the benefit of these families and for taxpayers in Leeds, this can't go on.

"I'm delighted with the response from Leeds City Council so far. They've grabbed this opportunity with both hands - to use the new funding on offer to really get to grips with troubled families in Leeds, and setting the pace for other areas to follow."

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk


Families First Leeds:
For more information on Families First Leeds please contact Lesley Wilkinson, Interim Programme manager tel: 0113 24 76825.

Louise Casey CB:
Louise Casey took up her post as Director-General of the Troubled Families programme in November 2011.
She is working for the Secretary of State on the Prime Minister's commitment to turn around the lives of 120,000 of the country's most troubled families.
Louise was formerly the first independent Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses, acting to promote the interests of victims and witnesses in Whitehall, the Criminal Justice System and beyond.
Previously, Louise was Director-General in the Home Office, heading up the Neighbourhood Crime and Justice Group. Prior to that, she carried out an independent review from the Cabinet Office which took a detailed look at the public's view on crime and how to engage them in tackling it.
In 2005, Louise was appointed as the head of the cross-government Respect Task Force which worked to tackle anti-social behaviour by getting to its causes through programmes such as parenting and intervention and support for problematic families. Before that, she was the Director of the Home Office's Anti-social Behaviour Unit.
Louise also led the successful strategy to reduce the number of people sleeping rough and established the Homelessness Directorate in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Between 1992 and 1999, Louise was Deputy Director of Homelessness Charity Shelter and, prior to that, held a number of posts in the social welfare sector.
Louise was awarded the Companion of the Order of Bath (CB) in the Queen's birthday honours list, 2008.

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