Holistic Family Support

Early Years Health & Social Causes
1 April 2024

The experience of community-based third sector family support services in Scotland.

Rowan Boase

Photo: Baby & Me group, 3D Drumchapel. Photo courtesy of the charity.

In 2022, we joined with another funder with an interest in the early years, Cattanach, to commission research to:

  • Explore how independent funders can better support the delivery of holistic family support, particularly in the context of recent commitments and calls to increase access to family support across Scotland outlined in the Independent Care Review’s “The Promise”;
  • Identify examples of good practice and key challenges facing third sector organisations delivering community-based family support in Scotland.

The research was undertaken by independent consultant, Marsaili Fraser.

Download the report here.

Her report highlights the challenges faced by community-based family support services in Scotland seeking to offer this kind of holistic support. While there’s a policy aim to increase funding for preventative and early support, the reality is that local authority funding for these services is decreasing. This strains their capacity to provide early interventions and forces them to compete for tenders focused on families with more urgent needs.

Despite the funding challenges, these services offer significant strengths. They build strong relationships with families, providing tailored support that addresses parental well-being, social isolation, and practical needs. They also empower parents through skill-building and modelling positive interactions with children.

The report concludes by calling for better collaboration among funders, government and local authorities. This would allow for a more efficient distribution of resources, address service gaps, and promote innovative practices in holistic family support.


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