New project aims to help Earlham families

Some of the most vulnerable families in Norwich, who are involved with a string of organisations ranging from social services to police, are to get extra help thanks to a new project.

The City of Norwich Partnership - made up of public, private and voluntary organisations - is investigating how to better support families in Earlham who get support and intervention from more than 16 different agencies.

Some of those families are regularly seen by organisations such as social services, the police, benefits officers and healthcare workers, but there have been concerns that information is not always shared and confusion is created.

The North Earlham Service Evaluation Project is interviewing families to see if there are ways to avoid them having to talk to so many different organisations.

Norwich City Council has enlisted the aid of Future Projects - the same community charity which runs Future Radio - to carry out some of the work.

To encourage people to take part, the families have been offered 'incentives', including pantomime or cinema tickets and Christmas hampers, which are accompanied with healthy eating advice.

The interviews started on November 15 and are due to be completed by December 17.

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Once the information has been gathered and analysed, small workshops will be set up to consider it and to try to figure out if there are better ways to look after the families who need support.

Norwich city councillor Sue Sands, cabinet member for wellbeing at City Hall, said: 'This project is designed to find out directly from service users what works and what doesn't, so we can work together with agencies and families to make them better for everyone.

'By understanding people's stories, the project will help to make services better, work towards less doubling up of services and improve families' ability to access the right support at the right time.

'By getting people talking, we hope to be able to encourage more cross-agency working, to make services more useable for people.'

The council justified the use of the 'small incentives' as 'a one-off' for this project, which aim to support family activity together, healthy eating and proper meal times.

A spokesman said: 'We hope that by offering these, more families will take part so we can build a really good idea of what is happening at the moment, and what we can do in the future to improve this.'

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