Improving Futures: the story so far
Abigail Ryan, Policy and Learning Officer at the Big Lottery Fund, tells us more about the Improving Futures programme which recently published its year two evaluation.
Our Improving Futures programme is funding 26 projects across the UK to transform outcomes for children living in families with multiple and complex needs.
Now two years in we have looked at the difference the projects are making for families. Research shows vast improvements for children and families with a 71% increase in parents setting appropriate boundaries for children. Risk factors for the average family have fallen by a quarter after receiving support, while strengths have increased by about two thirds.
Other key stats include:
- 51% reduction in poor quality housing with significant cold, damp or mould problems
- 43% reduction in child harm by domestic abuse
- 74% increase in children’s regular participation in sports or leisure activities
- 51% increase for children in regular contact with friends outside school
- 44% increase in listening to and reading with children on a regular basis.
We had quotes from families themselves to show how much they value the support that projects are providing:
“I thought it was Social Services so I said ‘no, you can’t help, there’s nothing wrong here’…but we got involved with them and realised they could help.” (Parent)
“My children love our key worker. They are nice people, they make you feel like a friend, they don’t look down on you.” (Parent)
“The personal help I got was amazing… the key worker was there for anything I needed… they’re really compassionate with what they do… it’s not just a thing – they really listen to you and your family. They listen to you personally and put you on to what will help you best.” (Parent)
The projects are using a range of different approaches to achieve these, including dedicated key workers, family support service and parenting support.
You can read the executive summary for more information about the evaluation findings so far.