A life-changing success

Jo Cobb, left, and Elaine Dann of Gatweay
Jo Cobb, left, and Elaine Dann of Gatweay

A WIGAN social pilot scheme is already scoring successes with helping troubled families.

The Life Project is a partnership between Wigan Council, health chiefs, police, housing bosses and a London-based community enterprise known as Life HQ, which helps people overcome issues such as unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues, abuse and neglect.

Wigan says it is already seeing positive results with its pilot in Wigan South, improving both outcomes for those involved and saving money for the council and its partners.

Elaine Dann, service manager for Wigan Council, said: “The Life Project is aimed at families with multiple, multi-generational complex problems who have a high level of need, have the potential to be high cost for the public purse and welfare budgets and are often high users of council, health and criminal justice services. Wigan Life project supports individuals and families to overcome a wide range of issues which may relate to hardship, employment, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues, abuse and neglect.

“The main resource of the programme are the individuals and families involved in making changes for themselves and, with support, they are improving their own lives. All of these issues can compromise the ability to care for children effectively or engage in positive outcomes such as employment.”

The Life Programme is one of the services offered as part of Wigan’s Confident Families Programme and sits within the Early Intervention and Prevention department within the council.

Angela Fell, Life team manager, said: “The programme is voluntary and is testament to the Life team that all families have accepted the invitation.

“At the heart of the programme is the development of honest relationships with families which supports a focus on the root causes rather than the presenting issues and an intensive approach with supportive challenge. Families are able to work with the programme for as long as they need with a view to supporting their exit via access to mainstream services.

“Sometimes the small things really matter when helping individuals make changes. It may be spending time to really listen and show interest or helping them to improve their environment.

“Other means of support include help with attending appointments and advice to understand systems, for example making an online claim for benefit support or applying for a job.”