A Lincolnshire based housing association has become part of a national programme aimed at helping families with multiple problems.
Acis Group, who own and manage over 5,300 homes across Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire, has been successful in securing the delivery across the West Lindsey area of the Support to Families with Multiple Problems project - which aims to tackle entrenched worklessness by progressing families with multiple problems closer to employment.
The project is a co-financed programme by the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) and the European Social Fund (ESF). The ESF families provision is investing in jobs and skills focusing on people who need support the most and helping them fulfill their potential. Working Links are the prime provider and are co-ordinating the programme for the East Midlands region, with social enterprise organisation 3SC responsible for delivery across Lincolnshire. By supporting delivery organisations through effective contract, performance and quality management, 3SC enable their partners to focus on delivering high-quality services to the communities they know best.
Elaine Ward, Family Support Co-ordinator for Acis, said: "The programme is aimed at working with individuals at a disadvantage and the benefits will not only be seen by the individuals but also the wider community. The project aims to engage more individuals and families in work-related activity, as well as decreasing the number of families with multiple problems and the number of workless households."
The DWP calculates there are around 120,000 such families in England and Acis will receive referrals from Lincolnshire County Council, Jobcentre Plus and other local organisations where the individuals or family are identified as needing help.
Elaine continued: "Following a referral we will initially diagnose the problems faced by each family in order to get a clear picture of what is required. We will establish their needs and produce an action plan, which is agreed by the family. We will then look at activities together that will assist families engaged in the project and will deliver this over a 12 month period via a range of methods, including one-to-one help and support and signposting to training providers and support services. The programme is voluntary for everyone in the family over 16 years old, and so if families are willing to actively engage with us we will help them overcome their constraints and some will go on and progress into employment."
Acis Community Cohesion Manager Rachel Cook added: "As an organisation we recognise that many people who live in our homes and in surrounding areas do not enjoy the economic, employment, education or health benefits and opportunities of those living in the wider community. This programme will help to address this imbalance. We are a housing association but we go beyond bricks and mortar. We want to focus on people and this project aims to help not only Acis tenants but those who live in the wider West Lindsey area."