Early Help proposals – your top 5 questions answered

Early Help consultationWe’re currently asking people to tell us what they think about our plans for what we’re calling Early Help. It’s a new way of providing support to children, young people and families across the district.

Naturally it’s a topic that’s got people talking, so here we’ve answered the top 5 questions you’ve been asking. If you’re not sure what Early Help is or why you should care, scroll down to watch our video.

Please head to www.kirkleestalk.org to find out more and take part in the survey.

1.Why are you changing?
Just like you, we have to make choices about how we spend money . And, with our budgets reducing, we have to think differently. We need to do the things that make the biggest difference and make sure that we support the most vulnerable people. And that’s what we think our plans for Early Help will do.

2. Is it just about saving money?
Reducing costs plays a big part but there’s also a need for us change how we work. Early Help would be more targeted; we plan to focus on areas where people have a lower income, children are less likely to be ready to start school, more children live in families where no one works and where a higher number enter the care system. By giving targeted help to these families through a single keyworker instead of lots of different agencies, Early Help should offer a better service not just a more cost effective one

3. What about Children’s Centres?
It’s no secret that the plans include a smaller number of buildings and this includes less Youth and Children’s Centres. Fewer buildings mean that we can respond more flexibly and deliver services to people most in need when and where they need it. Obviously it will save money too and it will also mean that we’ll not be offering universal services like Stay and Play and open access youth clubs. Instead, as we’ve said above, we will target our support towards the families most in need of support.

4. How have you decided which buildings to keep?
We’ve used all sorts of data to create a picture of where people need the most help. These include places where a high percentage of children live in deprivation, with parents/carers who are out of work and where they are most at risk of being taken into care. We’ve also looked at how each of the current Children’s Centres is used. As a result, 84% of households in the 10% most deprived parts of Kirklees live within walking distance of a proposed Early Help delivery site. As we’ve said in the previous question, we’ll be able to be more flexible with fewer buildings too.

5. How can you afford to support the HD-ONE Development when you can’t afford to support Children’s Centres?
Along with keeping families safe and healthy, one of our biggest priorities is making sure we have a strong local economy. Making Huddersfield a regional leisure destination would increase jobs, attract visitors (to spend their money here) and revitalise the town. The support we’ve agreed in principle is a loan with commercial interest rates. When the loan is repaid the interest will help us to afford other aspects of council work and we’ll also get around £2 million a year from business rates once it’s up and running.

Please take the time to find out more about our Early Help plans and don’t miss out on your chance to influence the outcome of the consultation.

 

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