Change for Families – how the DWP ESF project can really make a difference

With the preferred bidders announced* for the DWP’s ESF funded project to support families with multiple problems I wanted to address three issues  that could make or break the programme.

Partnerships
Having worked at both family level and policy level I know there can be effective high level partnerships, which fall flat on the ground because there is no buy-in. And  successful community partnerships, which fail because the bureaucracy gets in the way. This has to be a collaborative approach or it is nothing. And the collaboration must mean that the families feel that being part of the programme eases their path, connects the dots and they feel supported rather than prodded and poked by a series of well meaning professionals.

Ownership
If we are to believe Tolstoy and accept that whilst ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’  we must also make sure that plans are tailored to the needs of individual families and individuals within families. Different generations, men and women, parent and child will want different things. Revealing and helping people act on their personal aspirations will provide the motivational bedrock for changing their own lives long after we have left the scene.

Time
This project relies on building trust. And that takes time. We have found on Take three days that even for work-hungry lone parents a year can wizz by as they get all the different things in place: childcare, ESOL classes, basic skills, volunteering, CV, Applications. It is not surprising when you consider that every few weeks there is another school holiday.

Change for Families
To meet these challenge we have set up our own collaboration with an inspiring organisation called Capacity  to support families take decisive steps to address worklessness and child poverty. The project brings together our shared learning. If you are reading this you probably know about our programmes Take three days and Get Confident to Work, but you may not have heard of  Wishes, Capacity’s award-winning programme that intensively support parents with no or low qualifications to address literacy and numeracy needs, gain qualifications and to move into employment.
Change for Families is currently live in three children’s centres in Hammersmith and Fulham. If you want to know more do get in touch using the form below.

* The DWPs preferred bidders for the ESF contract to support families with Multiple Problems are:

Reed In Partnership CPA 1 East of England
Working Links CPA 2 East Midlands
Reed In Partnership CPA 3 East London
Reed In Partnership CPA 4 West London
The WISE Group CPA 5 North East
G4S Care and Justice Service CPA 6 Greater Manchester / Cheshire & Warrington (excluding Halton)
Reed In Partnership CPA 7 Cumbria & Lancashire / Merseyside (including Halton)
Skills Training UK CPA 8 South East
Twin Training International Ltd CPA 9 South West (excluding Cornwall and Isles of Scilly)
Paragon Concord International CPA 10 Convergence area of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly only
EOS Works Ltd (formerly Fourstar) CPA 11 West Midlands
EOS Works Ltd (formerly Fourstar) CPA 12 Yorkshire and the Humber


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