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Extra help for north Taunton families
STRUGGLING families are to get a £¾million helping hand to try to turn their lives around.
The Government is putting up the cash to help 182 households in the Halcon and north Taunton areas of the county town.
The Troubled Families money will be used over three years to support homes with an adult on out-of-work benefits; children either excluded from school or playing truant; or involved in crime or anti-social behaviour.
The idea is that the agencies currently dealing with them will co-ordinate their approach better so the families have one point of contact.
Cllr Jane Warmington, Taunton Deane Council portfolio holder for community leadership, said:
“The idea is to get people back to work, children back to school and to get them off crime.
“We’re looking at improving the lives of people with lots of problems, using the existing set up to make improvements.
“The outcomes will help them help themselves by encouraging them to make decisions for themselves and make sure the various agencies aren’t duplicating.
“Some of these families are in a dark place – maybe with long term inter-generational unemployment, maybe drugs and alcohol issues – and we want to make a more joined-up approach to improving their lives.”
Sgt Andy Murphy said partnerships between agencies working at the coal face had already put improvements in place, although more needs to be done.
He said: “Over the past six years, we’ve put a plan in place, looking at open spaces, creating new facilities for young people so that they can express themselves and lead healthier lives.”
He added that CCTV in Halcon had helped reduce crime by 40%, while a multi-agency building (the Acorn Centre) had been delivered, as well as two community centres.
“There’s a lot of proactive and reactive work going on to take people out of the crisis that they are in,” said Sgt Murphy.