New programme launched to help young families

NEW research launched by the Resurgam Partnership (made up of the PHA, Resurgam Community Development Trust and Lisburn City Council) on the 20th of June found that 75% of those attending three post-primary schools in Lisburn leave school without five or more GCSEs, which include English and Maths, and very few go onto university or college.

The research, across north and south Lisburn, was funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and delivered through Barnardo’s. The findings of the research will form the basis of ‘Early Intervention Lisburn, a new programme working with very young children and families to improve the health, wellbeing and life chances of some of the most vulnerable families in the city.

Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement (South East), PHA, Chris Totten welcomed Health Minister Edwin Poots to Lagan View Enterprise Centre and said: “We are pleased that this research, by Dr Roger Courtney of Barnardo’s, on behalf of the Resurgam partnership has highlighted important needs and issues in the Lisburn community and recommended a way forward. We are also delighted that the Minister is here to launch ‘Early Intervention Lisburn’, an initiative based on this research that will improve the health and education outcomes of the most vulnerable in Lisburn.”

Health Minister Edwin Poots said: “In my role as a local MLA, I am well aware of the needs of disadvantaged communities in Lisburn. I therefore welcome the fact that the ‘Early Intervention Lisburn’ initiative is designed to improve the long-term health and wellbeing on very young children and their families across the City council area.

“Tackling health inequalities is a key priority for my department and wider government. Disadvantage starts before birth, so action to reduce health inequalities and secure improved population health must start before birth. It must be sustained throughout childhood if we are to stand any chance of breaking the close links between early disadvantage and poor outcomes throughout life.

“Giving every child the best possible start through access to positive early experiences is crucial to reducing health inequalities across the life course.”

Establishing early intervention helps to give children the social and emotional bedrock they need to reach their full potential and will help older children become the good parents of tomorrow.

Philip Dean, Chair, Resurgam Community Development Trust Limited, added: “The Resurgam Trust works in communities throughout Lisburn and we look forward to developing our relationship with the Public Health Agency. Addressing education and health issues are key priorities for the Resurgam Trust and it is essential that we have good, solid working relationships with all departments including the Public Health Agency.”