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A Council led project that works with partners to improve the life chances of young parents and their children has won the Excellent People, Excellent Outcomes Award at the prestigious CoSLA Excellence Awards in Crieff.
The Clackmannanshire Young Parents Project (YPP) provides practical support tailored to individual needs so that young parents can develop the skills, means and confidence to fulfil their own potential and ensure their children have the best start in life. A primary aim of the project is to help young parents stay engaged with the employability process to prepare for employment, education or training.
The Council works closely in partnership with NHS Forth Valley on the project, with support also coming from Forth Valley College, Stirling University and Skills Development Scotland to help the young people achieve their full potential. Referrals to the project are received from a range of sources including health visitors, GPs, schools, social services and self and peer referral.
Research has shown that younger people who become parents tend to have poorer health and social outcomes and that these can be intensified when they become a parent. Young parents often have limited or no experience of statutory services, and can feel discouraged from accessing welfare services because they find the processes confusing or difficult.
YPP uses a key worker approach to provide a single point of contact, and a friendly non-judgemental face, which is important in building their confidence in services. The key worker engages with a network of contacts in partner services to address the needs of each individual. This can mean support with issues such as housing, accessing learning and employment grants, help with money advice and sourcing childcare. All participants complete a course in paediatric first aid, and other opportunities include programmes in elementary cooking skills, food hygiene and confidence and self esteem.
With over 130 young people having registered with the project, usually for 12 to 24 months, outcomes show strong outcomes in entering training or employment and achieving qualifications. The young parents also report significant increases in confidence, general health and happiness when they leave the project.
Council Leader Cllr Les Sharp said: “I am delighted that the innovative and highly valued work of the Young Parents Project has been recognised by this award from CoSLA. The YPP is working with some of our most vulnerable young people to help ensure that they can move forward from a very challenging time to fulfil their potential and help themselves and their children live happy and successful lives.”
The YPP is supported by the European Social Fund Priority 5 funding.