£1.5m Awarded to Help Strengthen Families

Oxford Brookes University’s Strengthening Families Programme 10-14 UK (SFP10-14 (UK)) has received significant investment to help prevent young people in the UK becoming involved in criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.

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Since the early 90s, alcohol misuse and other behavioural problems have been increasing among young people. The SFP 10-14(UK) aims to strengthen prevention efforts to reduce these trends.

The £1,489,679 investment from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) will allow the SFP10-14(UK) to be rolled out to new areas of the UK and Oxford Brookes’ work will have a particular focus on Muslim families.

The project, which has been developed with Lifeline Project and Dorset Youth Association, will build on the programme’s previous UK successes with low-risk families with pre- and early teenagers aged 10 to 14.

Having adapted a highly successful US evidence-based programme for the UK, the initiative has trained hundreds of practitioners in more than 24 local authorities in England as well as in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The programme is for all families with young people aged between 10 and 14 years of age to help prepare them for their teenage years. This 7 week evidence-based programme is aimed at reducing alcohol and drug use, behavioural problems in adolescence and strengthening the parent/carer child relationship.

Through discussions, fun games and activities, families solve problems together, learn about rules and consequences and explore ways to show love and support, strengthening family communication.

The new investment will allow the project to focus on families living in Central Lancashire, Manchester, Tower Hamlets, Slough, Luton and Dorset.

Dr Debby Allen, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences Oxford Brookes, said:

We are delighted to receive significant investment from the Big Lottery Fund. We are reaching out to families through the Strengthening Families Programme and we have already trained hundreds of others to do so.

Lindsey Coombes, who is also a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, added:

Together, we are helping families to make a positive difference in their lives and £1.5m in funding will allow us to make even more of a real difference for individuals, families and society.

Speaking ahead of the announcement for Peter Wanless, Big Lottery Fund Chief Executive, said:

There’s a very high price to the individual and to society when a young person is sucked into a life of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity. Yet there are programmes of support in the UK and abroad which have been shown can keep people on a positive path. Our support will help thousands of young people across the UK to increase their prospects and aspirations, overcome problematic behaviour and avoid pitfalls that could ultimately lead them into a cycle of offending.

Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the BIG website.