Young Parents Project Wins CoSLA Award
Young Parents Project Wins CoSLA Award
A Clackmannanshire Council led project that works with partners – including Forth Valley College - to improve the life chances of young parents and their children has won the Excellent People, Excellent Outcomes Award at the prestigious CoSLA Excellence Awards in Crieff.
The Clackmannanshire Young Parents Project (YPP) provides practical support tailored to individual needs so that young parents can develop the skills, means and confidence to fulfil their own potential and ensure their children have the best start in life. A primary aim of the project is to help young parents stay engaged with the employability process to prepare for employment, education or training.
The Council works closely in partnership with NHS Forth Valley on the project, with support also coming from Forth Valley College, Stirling University and Skills Development Scotland to help the young people achieve their full potential. Referrals to the project are received from a range of sources including health visitors, GPs, schools, social services and self and peer referral.
Research has shown that younger people who become parents tend to have poorer health and social outcomes and that these can be intensified when they become a parent. Young parents often have limited or no experience of statutory services, and can feel discouraged from accessing welfare services because they find the processes confusing or difficult.
YPP uses a key worker approach to provide a single point of contact, and a friendly non-judgemental face, which is important in building their confidence in services. The key worker engages with a network of contacts in partner services to address the needs of each individual. This can mean support with issues such as housing, accessing learning and employment grants, help with money advice and sourcing childcare. All participants complete a course in paediatric first aid, and other opportunities include programmes in elementary cooking skills, food hygiene and confidence and self esteem.
With over 130 young people having registered with the project, usually for 12 to 24 months, outcomes show strong outcomes in entering training or employment and achieving qualifications. The young parents also report significant increases in confidence, general health and happiness when they leave the project.
Council Leader Cllr Les Sharp said:
“I am delighted that the innovative and highly valued work of the Young Parents Project has been recognised by this award from CoSLA. The YPP is working with some of our most vulnerable young people to help ensure that they can move forward from a very challenging time to fulfil their potential and help themselves and their children live happy and successful lives.”
Andrew Lawson, Associate Principal at Forth Valley College, with responsibility for the Alloa Campus, said:
“We are delighted that this excellent project has been recognised with a CoSLA award.
“I remember very clearly when then Local Government Minister Derek Mackay visited the Forth Valley College Alloa Campus in September 2012. He met staff and participants from the Young Parents' Project, before enjoying a short presentation from lead officer Craig Baird the Partnership Support Outreach Worker. Others present included health visitors, social care, employability workers and college students.
“The vibrant presentation focussed on the aims of the project, the benefits, the successes, the impact it has made on their lives and their future plans.
“That was then and now – nearly five years on – the project has gone from strength to strength. We have always highly valued our strong relationship with Clackmannanshire Council and this initiative is a great example of just what can be achieved by working closely together to help make the lives of local people better.
“The Clackmannanshire Young Parents’ Project is an important and inspiring initiative which we at Forth Valley College are delighted to be involved with.
“Community engagement and forging partnerships with local organisations is imperative if projects like these are to be successful. It is exciting to see the impressive results that have been achieved over the past few years and we have been delighted to welcome many of the learners to our Alloa Campus in the future to continue their academic journey.
“We understand that at least one young person has progressed on to University as a result of the Young Parents’ Project and this is a fantastic achievement. And there are plenty of others who have worked their way through a college course here in Alloa and are now in full-time and part-time employment. We are determined to help Clackmannanshire Council build on this excellent record of success and will continue to support them fully on this project.”