Portsmouth City Council has been successful in securing £500,000 from Public Health England to provide support for children of alcohol dependent parents.

This money will enable them to deliver a three year programme of tailored structured treatment in a Family Hub setting supporting 160 families annually (approximately 240 children). Family Hubs are a venue already familiar to many families and they provide a welcoming, safe and supportive environment for all to benefit from.

This additional provision will bolster family support already available in the city such as the Early Help and Prevention service who work with families who need extra support. It will also build capacity within maternity, schools and wider settings to identify and support families.

The aims of the new programme are to identify more families where alcohol dependency is an issue, provide treatment to a greater number of families and work to improve the number of successful completions of treatment. The programme will look to meet the needs of the whole family, breaking cycles of behaviour and building healthy relationships. It will also support parents to understand the effect of their alcohol use on their children.

The programme will address money, employment, housing, crime and emotional needs to empower families to cope with the demands of daily life. In addition, a peer support group will be created to enable families to receive on-going support.

Children with alcohol dependent parents are more likely to miss school and through taking on caring responsibilities at home can miss other key parts of childhood like spending time with friends and developing hobbies. This will link to the Young Carers service that is also provided through the Early Help and Prevention team.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing & Social Care at Portsmouth City Council, said; "One of our council priorities is to ensure that children and young people in the city are safe, healthy and positive about their futures so I'm delighted that we've won this funding to enable us to increase the offer already available to families through the Early Help and Prevention team and specifically offer wider support for children of alcohol dependent parents. It will complement the support we already have in place for adults who want to reduce their drinking; provided by the Wellbeing Service for non-dependent drinkers and the Recovery Hub for dependent drinkers, and recognises that the harm alcohol causes is much wider than just on the individual drinker.

"I want to thank those who worked hard on the bid to win this funding and look forward to the programme starting and delivering the positive outcomes that we're confident it’s capable of."

Commenting on the innovation fund winning projects, Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive at PHE said: 

“There are about 200,000 children whose lives are often torn apart from living with a parent with alcohol problems, which often haunts them into adulthood and can lead to a lifetime of under-achievement and personal problems.

“That is why I’m delighted to be announcing the 9 winners receiving funding, which will provide new and innovative ways of working to identify and reach out to these vulnerable children.”