Needy children to get council help

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A PLAN to improve the lives of vulnerable children aged between five and 10 has been launched by Milton Keynes Council.

The new Early Help Commissioning Plan aims to reduce poverty, increase attainment in school and provide training for parents.

It comes after a recent reports showed one in five children in Milton Keynes was living in poverty.

This week the council is inviting organisations to tender as service providers.

The help scheme will not involve children under the age of five, despite the fact that one of the biggest charities helping out under fives – Home Start – is currently facing closure after the council axed its grant.

Director of Children’s Services Gail Tolley said: “The council already spends £4.5 million maintaining 20 children’s centres and children’s centre services for 0-5-year-olds across Milton Keynes.”

She said the new services will “complement” those already provided.

The plan will target priority areas identified by schools and social workers.

It will provide parenting supporting and mentoring programmes, parenting courses and “focused family intervention”, said Ms Tolley.

There will also be “family engagement activities”, using volunteers and peers where possible to teach matters such as money management or coping with domestic violence, she said.

“It will provide emotional and psychological wellbeing services as well as working alongside and supporting the parenting support and community engagement programmes,” she added.