Islington families have new 'one-stop shop- support service
By poppy_smith | Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 19:45
Families in Islington have a new 'one-stop shop' support service to access help that specifically meets their needs.
Families First is aimed at families with children aged 5-18 and is run in partnership between Islington Council and charity Family Action.
In the past families may have had to speak to lots of people in different organisations. Now they will have a single contact in their local area who can offer help on a range of issues such as money worries, housing, parenting, physical or mental health and support with staying in or finding employment.
Families First will especially support disadvantaged families coping with a range of difficulties, helping them to keep family life on track.
This was the case with Ishaitu Kamara, who lives with her daughter in Finsbury Park. In the past, Ishaitu struggled with depression and has received long term support from Islington Families (one of the services that has now been brought under the Families First umbrella). She said:
"I was assigned a case worker to help me through my problems. I am the sole carer for my daughter who is sick. The service helped me by organising to take my daughter out on trips so she had a fun day out and I also got a break.
"I was offered a lot of support at the time and they still call me now to check up and see how things are going. Now I'm volunteering with Families First, talking to other families about the problems I had and letting them know how they can get help too."
Families First is funded by Islington Council through a Community Budget. Three locally based teams in Barnsbury and Finsbury, Highbury and Hornsey and Holloway and Canonbury, will draw on the resources and expertise of professionals across the borough to offer one integrated package of intervention and support.
The new service was officially launched on Monday 25 June, with local families coming along to fun days held at each of the three Families First bases.
Councillor Richard Watts, Islington Council's executive member for children and young people, said:
"We want to help all children in Islington get the best start in life. One way we can do this is by tackling the number of Islington children growing up in poverty and workless households in the borough.
"Families First is an exciting new way of working with families, drawing on the expertise of lots of different services. It will now be much easier for local families to get the right type of support for them, helping them to work out their priorities and improve life for them and their children.
Family Action Families First Islington Manager Elaine Sheppard said:
"We know it can sometimes be hard to keep family life on track. That's why we're delighted to launch Families First in partnership with Islington Council. The launch event was a great chance for people to come and learn why we're putting families first in Islington.
"It can still be hard for families to ask for help, and to get co-ordinated support. This is where we come in, this new service will work with families in their own community providing a one stop shop for the help they need for them and their children. We're excited to be leading this work with Islington Council and look forward to building a brighter future for local families."
Families who want to get in touch with their local Families First Service can call 020 7527 4343 or email email@example.com