Thursday, 11 October 2007

LIVERPOOL: ‘Terror families’ to learn how to make sandwich

‘Terror families’ to learn how to make sandwich

ANTI-SOCIAL Liverpool families who risk eviction because of their bad behaviour are to be taught basic skills at home, including potentially how to make a sandwich.

Organisers last night denied the programme, launched today, was an example of a “nanny state” and said the results would empower participants and their communities.

Charity National Children’s Homes was commissioned to intervene in the lives of families who often terrorise their communities by Liverpool City Council.

Support workers will visit their homes to teach a range of skills including cooking and cleaning, tailored to the needs of each family.

Gill Clayton, assistant director at NCH, said yesterday that previous schemes had seen parents taught, for example, how to make a sandwich.

“This is not an example of a nanny state. Once each family has gone through the programme they will be empowered to contribute to society in a positive way,” she said.

“We remember a woman in another city where we implemented the scheme who could not make a sandwich and the skills we teach can be this basic, but is varies enormously.”

Each family is referred to the scheme by authorities such as social services, the police or they can even volunteer to take part.

Only families with children who have received a threat of eviction because of their anti-social behaviour are eligible, and it is thought people with Asbos will often be referred.

Cllr Colin Eldridge, Liverpool’s executive member for community safety said: “There are often very complex reasons why families are causing problems for their neighbours and if we can resolve them it benefits not only them but the whole community.

“It is essential that we do all we can to get them to change their behaviour and start contributing to society instead of disrupting life for law-abiding people.”

The scheme is funded by central government as part of the Respect agenda to tackle anti-social behaviour.

It will cost between £200,000 to £300,000 a year, but could save around £200,000 per family by preventing rehousing, children being taken into care and health complications.

Staff from NCH will visit families within the city for around eight hours a week for several months, showing them how to look after themselves, their children and their households.

Around 30 families will be helped at any one time, and the period each family will be on the programme varies.

The project was launched in Wirral last week, and Knowsley has been involved in a pilot programme.

NCH says it has carried out the scheme in other areas of the country with positive effects.

A study by Sheffield Hallam University showed 95% of families stayed in their original houses, an 82% reduction in com- plaints from neighbours and an 84% improvement in school attendance.

Carol Iddon, Deputy Director of Children’s services for NCH North West added: “We know from experience that most of the families we work with don’t want to be living the way they are but don’t know how to turn things around.”

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