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Publication date:- 2017-25-11

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 3 news items.    Page - 3.

Top award for Liverpool social work team

A team of Liverpool City Council social work staff who help keep families in crisis together have won a top industry award. The Instant Response Team in the Family Support Service scooped the prestigious:- 'Public Sector Children's Team Award' at the Children and Young People Now awards in London.  They respond to referrals where there is an imminent risk of family breakdown, often in extremely difficult and challenging circumstances, to ensure children and young people can safely remain at home with their families by providing timely, intensive, targeted support. They saw off competition from Councils in:- Cambridgeshire, Central Bedfordshire Council, Lancashire, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City to scoop the prize.

Councillor Barry Kushner, Cabinet member for children's services, said:- "Our social work staff are unsung heroes, who spend every working day helping keep vulnerable young people safe, often in very traumatic circumstances. I am so proud that the Instant Response Team's diligence, passion and commitment to their work has been rightly recognised and rewarded in this way.  This is a vindication of the investment we have made in our Early Help teams and the impact it has on children's and families before they get into crisis. All the evidence shows that keeping families together and working proactively alongside mums, dads and carers to resolve their issues is far better in the longer term.  The value of their work is truly immeasurable and we should all be grateful that we have among our workforce so many compassionate staff."

Between April and September this year, a total of 97 children were referred to the team; of which 79 were able to stay with their families rather than being placed in foster or alternative care. A further 3 were eventually able to return home after support was provided.

Shelter issues warning ahead of critical Christmas season

SHOCKING new figures show Shelter received a call for help from the North West every 4 minutes in the run up to Christmas 2016, and the charity is warning that the situation this winter could be set to get worse.  New research from Shelter and M&S shows that in 2016 the charity's national helpline received over 10,700 thousand calls from the North West in the 2 months leading into Christmas. And crippling combination of rising homelessness, sky high rents, problems with Universal Credits and a dearth of affordable homes means this winter the charity is preparing for huge numbers of people struggling with homelessness and housing problems to come to them for support. And with calls from people in the North West to the free Shelter helpline increasing by 36% over the past year (2017), their expert advisers are overwhelmed with pleas for housing help.  The Shelter helpline is funded by M&S customers throughout the festive season, with 5% of every purchase made from the:- 'Festive Collection for Shelter' going directly to the charity. This means the helpline can offer housing advice and support every single day of the year for people battling bad housing and homelessness.

Mark Cook, a helpline adviser for Shelter, said:- "Every Christmas I speak to parents in despair as they face the trauma of homelessness, when they should be filling stockings and looking forward to Christmas dinner. Even though I'll be working at Christmas, I think myself so lucky to be able to go home at the end of the day when there are so many families having to go without such a basic need. No family should face the agony of losing the roof over their heads, which is why we're calling on people to get their lunch from M&S's Festive Collection for Shelter. Something as simple as buying a sandwich could make the world of difference to a family whose home is on the line this Christmas."

Mike Barry, Plan A Director at M&S, said:- "We know our customers care about this issue and purchasing lunch from our Festive Collection for Shelter is a small, simple way they can make a big difference this Christmas. With calls to the Shelter helpline increasing by 25% over the past year it's more important than ever we support this important cause."

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