Help needed to change Falkirk’s family services

Falkirk Family Support Partnership is looking for the views of parents and children
Falkirk Family Support Partnership is looking for the views of parents and children

Parents and children have the chance to enjoy a day of fun and help shape the future of Falkirk’s family support services at the same time.

Camelon-based Aberlour Early Intervention Team, part of the Falkirk Family Support Partnership, is hosting a free family fun day at the Falkirk Wheel from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 14.

While the emphasis of the informal day is on entertainment and enjoyment, there is a serious side to the event too.

Winnie Delaney, service manager, said: “We need to consult children, young people and parents as to what they find most valuable in family support services.

“To gather opinions, especially those of young people, you have to make the event interesting so they want to come along in the first place.

“The free family fun is the draw, but it is a consultation event - although I don’t think there has been a consultation event like it before.

“It’s open to every child, young person and family in Falkirk and we will share what we learn from the event with our partners.

“We also want to give feedback to people and tell them this is what we are doing with the information you have given us.”

Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government, Winnie and her team are now in a position to redesign the delivery of family services in the Falkirk area.

“There are 20 of these partnerships taking place across Scotland with every one of them different because they are designed to respond to local needs.

“We are focusing across the board on the care of children from pre-birth to 18-years-old.”

Cat Martin, project coordinator, said: “The main idea is to ask all members of the family what support they need to make Falkirk the best place in Scotland to grow up in.

“We do this through some generic questions to get people’s views, but we also do different activities designed to make them think differently about certain things.”

The fun day activities will be based on values and principles of the Scottish Government’s Getting It Right For Every Child initiative, including keeping children and young people emotionally and physically safe, healthy and ensuring they feel included in matters.

Partners participating in the event include Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Falkirk Council, NHS Forth Valley and Falkirk Foodbank, which will be handing out free snack bags.

While Aberlour has been present in the area for years, the Family Support Partnership has only been running since March.

Winnie has over 30 years experience in the sector and 15 years with Aberlour.

She said: “We are asking ourselves how do we do things better - are there groups in society who are not getting the appropriate services?

“I’ve seen things evolve over the last 30 years but what has never changed is people want to do the best for families.

“We want to know how we can make it better for them.”

Cat said: “This project is all about responding to the needs of families and they have a real opportunity to help create a service that really works for them.”

A meeting will take place in December where families can get an update on what actions are being taken on suggestions made at the fun day, with a final report due in March next year.