Intensive family support services across South East Scotland are receiving a boost from the City Region Deal.

The Deal’s Intensive Family Support Service will help families in areas of chronic worklessness and poverty, bringing together the third sector and all six local authorities in South East Scotland with research expertise from the University of Edinburgh.

The first phase has launched in South East Scotland, covering Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Fife, Scottish Borders, and West Lothian.

Capital City Partnership has engaged leading charities Children 1st, Barnardo’s and Fife Gingerbread to partner with local authorities in delivery of the services.

Rona Hunter, Chief Executive Officer, Capital City Partnership, said:


“The Intensive Family Support Service within the City Region Deal is a great opportunity to bring together a wealth of expertise and approaches across Edinburgh and South East Scotland to improve the lives and opportunities for a number of families. Harnessing local efforts under a regional framework, it establishes how we can make a difference in the long term to bring about sustainable change. I’m looking forward to seeing the project develop and for further knowledge to emerge so that we can continue to improve pathways out of poverty and inequality.”

Focus areas include: supporting lone parent and low-income households affected by worklessness; helping adults to provide a better environment for their young people; and ensuring families can benefit from job opportunities created through the City Deal.

Families will receive support for core issues that affect everyone in the household to create stability and increase independence. They will receive help to engage in employment or employability-related activities, and receive advice on welfare and income maximisation.

East Lothian Council Depute Leader Norman Hampshire said: “Addressing the challenges associated with poverty is a key priority for East Lothian Council. That’s why I welcome and am very supportive of Our Families, the intensive family support service, which will complement existing provision in the local community. With a particular focus on the Musselburgh East, Wallyford and Whitecraig areas, this initiative through the City Region Deal can support improvements in the wellbeing of families in the local area.”

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson said:

“City Region and Growth Deals will be a crucial part of our economic recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19) as we work towards a fairer and more inclusive Scotland. We are investing £300 million over 15 years to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal across transport, housing, culture, innovation and skills to help achieve this.

“The Intensive Family Support Service will demonstrate that we can achieve more by working together in partnership and in turn, be able to provide support and opportunities for those that need it most in these challenging times.”

Sarah Galey-Horn, University of Edinburgh, is helping the service look at how organisational and social interactions promote economic mobility in low-income families. Sarah commented:

“I see family support programmes like IFSS as part of a broader trend towards community-based social policy that puts human relationships, rather than individual outcomes, at the centre of social services. The research project uses a method called social network analysis (SNA) that focuses on analysing and building relationships that reduce poverty-related vulnerabilities. This approach will help us identify practices that facilitate trusting, supportive relationships with families and to share those practices across the six local delivery partners.”

Published: Monday, 19th October 2020