CrossReach awarded grant to support disadvantaged children

child potting plant
The Daisy Chain project gives children opportunities to learn at an early age

The Church of Scotland's social care arm CrossReach has secured a grant for £258,000 which will enable it to continue supporting some of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged children in society.

Paul Gilroy, head of children and family services, said the money awarded by the Scottish Government would be used to help youngsters aged eight and under and their parents as part of work to improve life chances.

"This fund replaces the Third sector Early Intervention fund and will enable us to continue and establish our Daisy Chain Early Years Project in the Govanhill area of Glasgow as a core service for Crossreach," he explained.

"In addition, it will enable us to continue to support and implement the 'Getting it Right for Every Child' principles in communities across Scotland."

The Daisy Chain was established in 2011 to try and meet the needs of families often described as "hard to reach".

There has been a particular focus on reaching out to the migrant population within Govanhill, particularly the Roma community.

According to the Social Marketing gateway report 2013 'Mapping the Roma Community in Scotland', the minority group is deeply affected by racism, social exclusion, discrimination and deep poverty.

Roma women and children are reported to regularly be victims of violence, sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Daisy Chain, which was initially a pilot service, has developed a reputation as an example of good practice within the local community and among partner organisations such as Glasgow City Council.

Mr Gilroy said that while the service is located in a very specific area of Scotland, the funding award recognised that it is delivering outcomes of national significance.

CrossReach has key outcome objectives.

Improved attachment.

Children and their parents will build positive nurturing relationships through activities including infant massage and play opportunities, giving children a secure foundation on which to build future relationships.

Inclusion.

Children and families will develop a network of peers and support through meeting and interacting with other members of their community and will be encouraged to engage with education through early literacy schemes by providing pathways into local nurseries and schools.

Improved health.
Through a combination of sharing meals, healthy eating initiatives and partnership working with NHS Scotland, children and families will have better access to healthy foods, physical activity and dental hygiene which will enable them to develop and thrive.

Increased confidence.

By engaging with new activities, social opportunities and experiencing positive feedback, parent and child will experience higher levels of self-esteem and confidence which will improve their mental health

Mr Gilroy said: "This funding will enable Crossreach to further develop a range of strategies, including play-based interventions to promote attachment amongst parents and children in marginalised groups.

"They are now being integrated in Perth Prison Visitor Centre with children affected by imprisonment and at Sunflower Garden (Edinburgh) with children affected by parental substance misuse.

"We are also absorbing play based practice within our residential schools."

The funding will also be used to help develop maternal and infant mental health services.