Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

‘Preventative support’ for families will still be available despite cuts says county council

Story posted on

SOMERSETCounty Council has offered reassurance that support for families in Frome and across the county will still be available, despite some services being phased out by the end of this month.

The getset ‘level 2’ services at Frome’s Key Centre, which offer support to families who have ‘additional needs’, were set to be axed last year.

However, following a public consultation, the services were given a reprieve by the county council, who decided to retain the services until the end of March 2020. 

Since February last year, the county council has been exploring how the getset ‘level 2’ services could be replicated by working with key partners such as health, district councils and the voluntary sector. 

The news last year of the threat to children’s services caused users of the Key Centre to launch a campaign as they feared losing these services would lead to the closure of the centre. However, in response to the fears, the county council reassured residents that it would not be closing.

And in its most recent statement, the county council has said that the Key Centre will continue to offer space to a range of regular independent groups and services.

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council told Frome Times, “Following the decision last February that the council’s level 2 services were to be phased out by March 31st 2020, Somerset’s Early Help offer has developed significantly in order to ensure Somerset’s families are able to access preventative support which meets their needs.  

“Increasing accessibility has involved ensuring the council shares responsibility with a range of partners across Somerset, so families can choose to get help from people and organisations they feel comfortable with.  This means we have worked closely in partnership with a number of organisations across Somerset to ensure the Early Help Offer is available to all.

“There has always been good preventative provision in the voluntary and community sector for children and families, so the council has prioritised the identification and promotion of these alternative provisions for pre-school children and their families through the health visiting service, Early Years provision and village agents to support families and vulnerable people in communities, and local libraries.

“To support the voluntary and community sector further, a £200k Early Help Fund has recently been launched in partnership with the Somerset Community Foundation to enable voluntary and community sector organisations to start or grow early help provision for families across Somerset especially in areas where there is more limited support.

“Other early help initiatives include: A network of parenting support across Somerset so community-based organisations such as libraries  have staff trained as parenting skills practitioners, making this support less stigmatised and easily available. Regular groups are provided across Somerset, including Shepton Mallet, Glastonbury, Taunton and Bridgwater, Frome, Yeovil, Chard and Highbridge.

“Enlisting the charity Safe Families to provide a mentoring/befriending service across Somerset for families who are struggling, and experiencing difficult problems which could escalate into statutory interventions if preventative help is not provided.

“Improved support for young carers, provided through the voluntary sector.

“The Key Centre in Frome, along with a number of other centres across Somerset will continue to provide a range of regular independent groups and services including a childminder group, talking therapies, community meals campaign, health visitor clinic, baby massage, breastfeeding group, young parents group, developmental reviews and perinatal mental health support group.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *