Helping hand for families

A NEW £1.5m scheme is set up to offer a helping hand to unemployed families.

It will give specialist and intensive support to families, including in Peterlee and east Durham, with a long history of worklessness as they attempt to break the barriers of unemployment.

The Families with Multiple Problems Programme is a government scheme, funded through the European Social Fund, to help the most needy families across the country by 2015.

The Government has already named The Wise Group as the preferred bidder to run the programme in the North-East, where the project will be called FamilyWise.

Durham County Council has been chosen to deliver the scheme on behalf of the Wise Group and it is expected to reach around 1,265 people from families across the county over the next three years.

The county council was selected to deliver the scheme as it is already working with families who would be eligible for the support and is offering a range of existing services to tackle the multiple and complex issues they face.

To be eligible, at least one member of the family must be on benefits due to unemployment and there must be a history of worklessness in the family.

Councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member for regeneration and economic development at the council, said: “It is a real feather in the cap for the county council to have been selected to deliver this programme, which will help to transform the lives of hundreds of County Durham families.”