‘No-nonsense approach’: Minister backs Manchester scheme aimed at helping rebuild lives across city

By Matt Turner

A scheme aimed at helping Manchester’s at-risk and vulnerable families tackle social problems such as anti-social behaviour and unemployment has been hailed a success.

The Troubled Families Programme, introduced citywide earlier this year after trials in Wythenshawe, Gorton and Longsight two years ago, has so far helped 300 families turn their lives around

The scheme, delivered by Manchester City Council in partnership with other agencies such as the police, the NHS and landlords, offers an alternative to existing intervention structures and promising a more integrated support system with stronger leadership.

And the success of the scheme has not gone unnoticed in Westminster with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles hailing the city’s ‘no-nonsense and sensible approach’.

The authority is currently working with around 1,500 families as part of the scheme and appear set to reach the target of helping 2,385 families by 2015.

In addition to reporting a decrease in levels of truancy and youth crime, the council has also highlighted an increase in adults getting off benefits and back into work thanks to the help the Troubled Families Programme has offered them.

This in turn has eased the burden on local public services as well as the taxpayer, a development which has pleased council bosses.

Councillor Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We’ve really led the way in Manchester over the last two years and have made great progress in helping some of our families with enormous problems get their lives back on track.

“We’re already working with more than half of the families we’ve identified through the programme and in addition to the 310 families whose lives have already been turned round, we’re also seeing very encouraging results with other families – especially around the issues of anti-social behaviour and offending.”

Mr Pickles said he was delighted with the success of the scheme.

He said: “These figures show that a no-nonsense and common sense approach is changing these families for the better and benefitting the whole community in Manchester.

“Considering the often long-standing and deep-seated nature of these families’ problems, it is a huge achievement to have turned so many around in such a short space of time.”

Picture courtesy of Admanchester, with thanks.

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