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Today saw the release of official government statistics for the ESF Support for Families with Multiple Problems programme. The scheme funded by the European Social Fund is designed to support and improve the lives of families across the UK struggling with complex issues, often related to and increased by entrenched worklessness.

Figures collected by ERSA, the welfare to work sector body, shows that around 13 000 families have been supported by the scheme since it began in 2012. Official government figures also released today show that the scheme is supporting families both towards and into work, while combining with other local services to ensure the whole family gains as much support as possible. ERSA data shows that:

  • Of the 37,178 families identified as needing support by the end of Sept 2013, 20,051 have gone on to participate in the scheme by the end of September 2013,
  • 12,864 families in total have taken steps to improve their lives – this means that they will have taken substantial steps to increase skills, sort out debts or undertake activities designed to improve family life and move them closer to the workplace.
  • Of these, 2,029 families have had at least one job start to date on the programme by the end of September 2013, a figure which is expected to rise substantially as family situations stabilise.  

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA, commented on today’s statistics:

“ERSA is delighted to see that over half of the families starting the ESF Families programme are showing concrete signs of overcoming issues impacting upon family life. Providers of the programme are committed to working with local services to support families to establish routines, help their children in school and move towards and into employment. 

“ERSA does however have concerns that not enough families who could benefit from this voluntary programme are currently able to access the support available. We therefore need to do more to encourage local authorities and Jobcentre to identify and signpost these families towards the support available”