Renfrewshire’s innovative Families First project has helped generate more than £4million of income for families struggling with finances in five areas across Renfrewshire.

Cllr Jaqueline Henry with the Families First team and participants at one of the initiative’s cookery classes

The free service supports families with children aged 0-8 years old and has helped them maximise their income and manage their debt. It provides help, support and advice in a family focussed way using a ‘walking together with families’ approach, covering everything from promoting wellbeing and positive relationships, through to energy advice and establishing good family routines.

Families can participate in a range of classes such as cooking and baby massage as well as take advantage of the weekly drop-in services.

Families First takes a holistic approach to supporting families by providing a single point of contact for parents. The original Families First teams started in the Linwood and Ferguslie areas at the end of 2013. Three further teams were established in April 2016 under Renfrewshire’s Tackling Poverty Programme in the Foxbar, Gallowhill and Johnstone localities and have already supported more than 400 families.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said: “It is clear from the results we are seeing that the Families First programme has made a significant and positive impact on the lives of children and families in the areas it operates.

“The fact that over £4million of income has been generated for the families is a testament to the value of its ‘walking together with families’ approach. This has helped the team build strong relationships with those using the service to help ease their situation whether it be through helping maximise their income, manage their debt or helping them gain new skills.”

Renfrewshire Council’s Tackling Poverty Programme has made a difference to the lives of Renfrewshire residents by putting over £2million back into the pockets of those most in need.

The Council has also approved an additional £1.5million which will extend family-focussed initiatives such as breakfast clubs and cost of the school day which are helping to maximise income for families in the Renfrewshire.