Scotland’s Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise Natalie Don MSP visited Musselburgh to hear more about a new service that is transforming how families can access support.

Meeting staff from East Lothian helped show how we can make positive change happen for families. We can learn from their experiences, working together to improve outcomes for the people we support

Families Together East Lothian works to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for families seeking support. The programme has received money through the Scottish Government’s £500m Whole Family Wellbeing investment programme.

The funding aims to support the whole system transformational change required to reduce the need for crisis intervention with a shift in investment towards prevention and early intervention.

East Lothian is one of three local Children’s Strategic Planning Partnership (CSPP) areas who, along with East Ayrshire and Glasgow City CSPPs, have been chosen to receive additional support to accelerate this model locally and contribute to national learning.  

Pilot areas

Families Together East Lothian is currently operating in two pilot areas: Dunbar and Tranent/ Fa’side. It includes Family Outreach Workers who can offer tailored support on the issues families feel matter to them. This could include social, emotional and behavioural regulation support, parenting strategies, approaches to budgeting and managing a household and support to manage transitions. The team works closely with other council services and third sector partners in the areas to make sure that families can easily benefit from a joined-up, holistic network of support for as long as it is needed.

During Ms Don’s visit to Musselburgh East Community Learning Centre on 17 January she met with senior council officials who are driving the project forward as well as colleagues from Scottish Government, Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection (CELSIS) and Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative (CYPIC). She heard about the programme’s early successes such as offering support to 145 families within the two pilot areas in the first nine months and the team’s expansion into East Lothian-wide delivery.

£500m Whole Family Wellbeing Funding

Children’s Minister Natalie Don said: “The Scottish Government’s £500m Whole Family Wellbeing Funding is focusing on the system change required to shift investment towards early intervention and prevention activities, to ensure families can access support before they reach crisis point.

“Meeting staff from East Lothian helped show how we can make positive change happen for families. We can learn from their experiences, working together to improve outcomes for the people we support.”

Healthy, happy and together

Councillor Fiona Dugdale, East Lothian Council’s Cabinet member for Education and Children’s and Family Services, was at the meeting. She said: “Families want the tools and resources that will help them to remain healthy, happy and together and they inherently know what will work for them. Families Together East Lothian is about recognising the strengths that already exist within the household, what extra support is needed and putting that in place. It’s entirely voluntary and we are already seeing that strong bonds are quickly built between our workers and the families which benefits everyone.

“Family life is not always easy and it’s really important that, when help is needed, it’s easy to access. This early intervention can help prevent matters from escalating and people finding themselves at crisis point; it improves families’ wellbeing and reduces the potential for more intensive involvement later. We were pleased to meet with the Minister and update her on our progress to date and our shared ambition to make East Lothian the best place to live and grow up in and where all our families can thrive.”

Published: Thursday, 25th January 2024