Jenny Rathbone welcomes the tapering of the Communities First programme to enable the safeguarding and enhancement of those elements which provide the glue between different programmes like Flying Start, Families First and other voluntary and public sector initiatives.
Jenny Rathbone said:
“I have no doubt that the Employability programmes will be continued through initiatives like Communities for Work, Lift, and Better Jobs Closer to Home. Similarly, support with childcare will continue through PaCE and the roll out of the Welsh Government free childcare programme for all three and four year olds in working households.”
“Tightly defined geographical boundaries have a purpose – to ensure that deliverers are actually working with the hardest to reach. They are definitely not the ones who shout loudest, so I continue to have concerns that the people with protected characteristics may fall between the cracks.”
Parents Childcare and Employment (PaCE) aims to help parents tackle childcare barriers to accessing training or job opportunities, by covering the cost of childcare while they undertake training, work experience or volunteering for skills.
The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant, today set out his vision to adopt a holistic approach to tackling poverty by preserving the most effective aspects of the work Communities First has done, and intensifying the efforts to give people the tools needed to share in the nation’s prosperity.
Carl Sargeant stated:
“There were more than 3,000 responses to the engagement exercise, and the feedback demonstrated the many ways in which Communities First has benefitted individuals. It highlighted support for a new approach focussed on employment, early years, and empowerment.”
It is evident that Communities First projects have encouraged people to get involved and make a contribution in their community, particularly by using time credits in exchange for activities that improve their well-being.
Jenny Rathbone said:
“Frequent Flyers have identified and diverted people who continuously use A&E; have addictions and attachment problems including loneliness and mental illness, by providing better befriending and community support. In addition, Family Learning has enabled parents to play a more confident role in their children’s learning, after School clubs offer curriculum enrichment to pupils who cannot afford to pay for them, and Lunch Club’s for the Over 50s have been very effective at helping people cope with bereavement, as well as providing affordable hot meals, keeping them well and not needing to use health services.