Lottery funding for young Edinburgh children affected by homelessness

Families in Edinburgh with young children affected by homelessness are being helped by a new service following an award of £405,576 by the Big Lottery Fund.

Officially launched yesterday by Shelter Scotland and CHILDREN 1ST, Building Families will support families in Edinburgh with children under 11 years old - and affected by homelessness - by delivering a range of personalised support packages designed to help family relationships and support tenancies.

Three and a half full-time support posts have been created between Shelter Scotland and CHILDREN 1ST.

Koen Van der Straeten, CHILDREN 1ST service manager for Edinburgh, Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, Maureen McGinn, ‎chair of the Scotland committee of the Big Lottery Fund, Cllr Ricky Henderson, convener of the health, social care and housing committee at Edinburgh City Council

Homelessness is known to have a drastic impact on children’s development and life chances.Launching Building Families, Councillor Ricky Henderson, convener of the health, social care and housing committee at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “I’m delighted to have been part of the launch of the Building Families project. It is an innovative service, bringing Big Lottery money to Edinburgh at a time when local government resources are constrained. The service will provide invaluable support to some of the most vulnerable families in the city.“We’ve seen a reduction in homelessness of almost a fifth in Edinburgh across the last five years but there is still a lot to do and the launch of this new project is definitely welcome.

“Shelter Scotland and CHILDREN 1ST have long championed the rights of everyone to a suitable home and the right to a safe, secure and happy childhood. I’m sure that bringing these key goals together on this project will bring success and make real changes to the lives of families affected by homelessness right across the city.”

Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: “I thank the Big Lottery Fund for backing the Building Families project which combines our housing support and homelessness expertise with CHILDREN 1ST’s broad range of skills and knowledge of working with children. Together we will deliver a vital service to help families in Edinburgh with young children who face complex support needs and housing difficulties.

“Educational and social development are key to a child’s long-term health and wellbeing, so by supporting children to make the most of their family life, schooling and leisure time, Building Families will make a real difference to the life chances of all those it works with.”

Maureen McGinn, ‎chair of the Scotland committee of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Many families will, at some point in their lives, need that bit of extra support to help them through difficult periods. The effects of low income and the effects of homelessness, for example, are two of the issues which Building Families will help tackle. Its goal of helping people live more positive lives will benefit families now and in the future.”

Anna O’Reilly, CHILDREN 1ST assistant director, children and family services east, added: “The CHILDREN 1ST Family Support team works with families in their own homes; to increase the confidence, skills, knowledge and social networks of parents and carers so that they can better meet the individual needs of their children.

“We are delighted that through this partnership we will be able to reach and support more children and families. Shelter Scotland’s experience and expertise will be of great benefit to children whose families’ housing issues mean they are living in very difficult and stressful circumstances.”

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