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South Somerset District Council helps fund project to support struggling families

| District

South Somerset District Council (SSDC) has approved a recommendation to support The South Somerset Families Project (SSFP) run by Yeovil4Family with an award of £382,000.

Our Council Plan for 2022-2023 commits to enabling Healthy and Self-Reliant Communities, which are cohesive, sustainable and enjoy a high quality of life. This support for the SSFP will provide funds to help struggling families across South Somerset, addressing child poverty and low rates of social mobility in the district. The project is also playing a key role in supporting and enabling families, recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

SSFP has now run for two years and has grown from being predominantly Yeovil based to helping across the district.  The SSFP is delivered by Yeovil4Family, which has been supporting vulnerable people in South Somerset with their specialist help for over 10 years.  There is a high demand for the service and, over the past year alone, 174 South Somerset families were referred to the service from 20 different agencies, including GP’s, schools and South Somerset District Council. Mental health was the most prevalent issue, along with managing finances, parenting and managing behaviour, nurturing family and other relationships, addressing social isolation, support to build positive social networks and help to improve poor physical health.

As well as delivering face-to-face support through trained Link Workers and Volunteer Mentors, South Somerset Families Project workers also often act as the link and access route for people who struggle to engage with other support agencies. They told us this has become particularly challenging over the past two years since a lot of support went online and demand for services rose to unprecedented levels.

 Positive results over the last two years

  • 83% of parents reported an improvement in feeling in control of their lives.
  • 75% saw an improvement in their mental health.
  • 82% of parents noted an improvement in their children’s mental health
  • 67% of parents were empowered to improve managing the household budget
  • 50% had an improvement in coping with debt.
  • 42% felt their social isolation and loneliness was reduced.

 Mike Best, SSDC Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, said: “As set out in our 2022-2023 Council plan, we are committed to enable Healthy and Self-Reliant Communities. Collaboration with local partners like the SSFP is crucial to ensure there is a local offering in place where residents can seek help to improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

"This funding from SSDC will help the SSFP provide the district’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents access to a critical service. Through the services they offer, barriers of inequalities are broken down and residents facing hardship, or experiencing causes of economic & social exclusion, poverty and low social mobility can receive proactive support. We are delighted to be able to deliver this funding to support what is an essential lifeline for struggling families in our communities.”

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