THE official launch of The Gateway, Levenmouth saw a massive outpouring of support from local groups, councillors and MSPs at the official launch last week.
A partnership between Fife Gingerbread, Barnardos, Fife Council Family and Community Support Team, Adam Smith College and Fife Voluntary Action, the project has been given the go-ahead for the next three and a half years, thanks to a successful pilot at Aberhill Primary School.
The project, which has been made possible thanks to the Big Lottery’s Improving Futures Fund, will now be fully implemented until January 2016 and has been extended to cover six of the 11 catchment primary schools in Levenmouth, with a view to covering every school in the future.
Local families, whose eldest child is in primary school, can approach The Gateway for help and support and in return, can receive family mentoring, family learning and the opportunity to take part in voluntary work.
Sue Milne, project manager, said: “We really only have a short amount of time so it’s about getting as much done as we can in that time and, because we are only a small staff team, figuring out how we can work in partnership more and more to offer the project in the 11 schools.”
She continued: “As a family, you have to have quite a few problems to get support from existing agencies, and certainly in our talks with headteachers and families themselves, a lot don’t have major problems, so sometimes it is just having someone there to chat things over with which can make them think, ‘things can be sorted out, I don’t have to suffer in silence’.”
Aileen Campbell, Minister for Children and Young People, gave the keynote speech and said the Scottish Government is committed to showing its support to such projects.
“Helping families and communities is a real key part of the work we want to do, and also making sure we can intervene early enough in a family’s life so that any problems or issues they may have don’t develop into a crisis. ”
Linda Anderson, chair of Fife Gingerbread, said the project is quite unique.
“We have a lot of partners involved for children and families who have difficulties and who really need a lot of support - this project is going in at a lower level and is more about organising the fun things and helping out with the little blips that families have, around a range of things like finances, jobs, housing.”
David Torrance MSP welcomed the project, commenting: “We can already see from the examples so far that families are really starting to communicate with one another to become units and they are enjoying taking part in the activities being provided.”
Local councillor David Graham also commented: “We were shown today how The Gateway in Levenmouth work together as a partnership to provide a fantastic service and support to families in the Levenmouth area. .”