Transforming West Cumbria, mid-term report 2023

PAGE 24 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 25 “The pressure on our services continues, with more people presenting at crisis point. We can now better manage client demand, training and funding bids.” Shelley Hewitson increased financial pressures. A range of stakeholders were interviewed, and 46 beneficiaries responded to a digital survey. Feedback suggests many people sought help with more than one issue. Debt advice (25%) is the common issue, followed by food or fuel vouchers (21%) and benefits advice (15%). As a result of receiving help, 46% of people who responded said they felt more in control of their finances and 41% said their mental or physical health had improved. 91% said they were ‘extremely likely to recommend the project’. The evaluation said Financial Wellbeing should be continued, given worsening socio-economic challenges. Responding to the increased needs of communities following the pandemic and cost of living crisis, further investment was made by Sellafield Ltd. Citizens Advice Allerdale and Citizens Advice Copeland rely on funding to provide free advice. Core funding of £90,000 over three years was awarded to each charity. Shelley Hewitson said: “The pressure on our services continues, with more people presenting at crisis point. We can now better manage client demand, training and funding bids.” Addressing Financial Hardship Family Wellbeing The Money Mentors project offers free, tailored support. Delivered by Groundwork NE & Cumbria it informs on financial choices and services and imparts skills to help people take control of their finances. Eighteen mentors will be trained. Kay Dempsey, Partnership Lead at Groundwork, said it will help reduce pressure on the Citizens Advice service: “In some cases, the appointment at Citizens Advice will not be required and in the majority of cases would not take up as much time.” Whitehaven Egremont and District Credit Union received £62,908 to run a three-year financial education programme in every West Cumbrian secondary school for Year 10 pupils. Workshops look at income, expenditure, budgeting, bills, credit cards and loans. Sue* had a history of mental ill health and her husband was unable to work due to arthritis. Their energy bills and mortgage payments had increased significantly. The Financial Wellbeing Officer reviewed their budget and identified savings per month. They were also eligible for a fuel voucher. The couple feel they are in a much better place to manage their finances. CASE STUDY *name has been changed Working with families to improve everyday lives Family Wellbeing improves the lives of some of the most vulnerable children and families and helps families to support youngsters’ development and emotional resilience Seven charitable organisations have been funded to work in partnership and provide services which help families. They are: Always Another Way; Barnardo's; Cumbria Addictions, Advice & Solutions (CADAS); Howgill Family Centre; Safety Net (UK); Time to Change West Cumbria; and Together We CIC. The partnership delivers early years interventions and intensive, family-centred support, giving parents and families the confidence to support their child’s development and help children build emotional resilience. The Family Wellbeing programme is steered by an advisory board which includes representatives from Children's Services, Cumbria Youth Alliance, University of Central Lancashire and University of Cumbria. The board is chaired by Willie Slavin, Chair of West Cumbria Child Poverty Forum and a trustee of the Howgill Family Centre in Cleator Moor. Sellafield Ltd has committed, through Transforming West Cumbria, about £1m to the programme over five years. Willie says poverty and child poverty are Started September 2020 £600,000 awarded to 7 projects over 3 years Outputs delivered to date: ∞ 1,456 families supported ∞ 2,709 children supported ∞ 498 adults supported in year 3 Outcomes achieved to date: ∞ 17 fewer children going into or returning to care ∞ 25 fewer children on Child Protection Plans ∞ 36 children achieved good level of development by end of reception significant in areas of West Cumbria and have been persistent over many years. “For example, Sandwith ward in Copeland has consistently had some of the highest levels of poverty in West Cumbria and ties with a ward Started July 2021 4 grants awarded, total investment £274,133