Parental guidance ...

From left,  Cllr Alice Soper, Kim Smith, Cllr Judy Hamilton, Neil Blake, Kelly Garroway, Lisa Haggerty, Jane Reilly, David Torrance MSP, Rhona Cunningham - at the launch of Fife Gingerbread's Teen Parent Project

From left, Cllr Alice Soper, Kim Smith, Cllr Judy Hamilton, Neil Blake, Kelly Garroway, Lisa Haggerty, Jane Reilly, David Torrance MSP, Rhona Cunningham - at the launch of Fife Gingerbread's Teen Parent Project

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A SUCCESSFUL project for teen parents is expanding into Kirkcaldy and the surrounding area.

Following a pilot in Levenmouth, the Teen Parent Project, run by Fife Gingerbread in conjunction with the YWCA Scotland, was launched in the Lang Toun.

The project aims to work with teen parents, between the ages of 16 and 19, to provide accessible, approachable and non-judgemental support, advice and information.

Working in partnership with numerous agencies, the project focusses on giving support to teenage parents, establishing good parenting skills, developing peer support networks and promoting engagement with other services.

Rhona Cunningham, manager of Fife Gingerbread, said: “The Teen Parent Project worked so well in Levenmouth that we’re truly delighted to be able to roll it out into other areas of Fife.

“The project gives such support and confidence to these teens who are often overlooked or disengaged from their communities.”

Pregnancy rates

Louise Morris, Teen Parent Worker for Kirkcaldy, said: “Scotland itself has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in Europe.

“In Fife, the Kirkcaldy and Levenmouth Community Health Partnership as a whole has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy.

“The project already runs in Levenmouth, so we’re now expanding into Kirkcaldy.

“The project is not about making a new service as such, it’s about being able to build relationships with teenage parents and encouraging access to services already available in the community.

“Essentially it is about improving their lives and the lives of their children, whether it’s about education or employment or building peer support networks, as for a lot of young parents it’s isolation they are suffering from.”

The launch at the YWCA in Commercial Street, was a joint event for the Teen Parent Project in both the Kirkcaldy area - including Burntisland, Kinghorn and Auchtertool - and Armadale in West Lothian.

Supporters

The event was attended by supporters of the project, including health, social work and education professionals, and local politicians including David Torrance MSP and Kirkcaldy councillor, Judy Hamilton.

The morning’s guest speaker was Sue Palmer, one of the UK’s most well established authorities on the teaching of literacy and author of ‘Toxic Childhood’.