ALMOST £900,000 has been invested in reaching out to disadvantaged families in Sunderland.
SAFC’s charity, the Foundation of Light, has been awarded £890,000 from the Big Lottery for its Improving Futures programme.
The scheme will support 160 families in five pre-identified neighbourhoods who are affected by domestic violence, poverty, lack of education and financial difficulties.
Over a four-year period, the project will support families whose eldest children are aged five to 10 years old in Southwick, Concord in Washington, Hendon, Peat Carr/ Moorsley and Pennywell.
Lee Crosby, Improving Futures project manager, said: “The idea is to offer an alternative route to help other than that of the statutory services.
“We will be working with the voluntary sector, like the Salvation Army, who may already be working with the families so we can build relationships with the family.”
He added: “Families go through a lot of assessments and processes and rather than go down that route, which people can find intimidating, we’re trying not to get the statutory services involved.
“A lot of families feel more at ease with public sector groups.”
Using the Foundation of Light brand and the power of football, the programme will initially identify young children and families through local primary schools with information being shared between public services and voluntary and community sector organisations.
It’s hoped this will lead to more effective and tailored support to solving family issues.
Lee said: “We are working with schools as they have direct contact with the families.
“The aim is to tackle attainment and attendance. They reason a child might not be attending school could be due to family issues at home which we want to identify.
“It’s an information sharing process.
“We hope to get away from the stigma some of these issues have.”