It's National Safeguarding Week and we want to show our support by promoting awareness of particular safeguarding issues. Each day this week, we'll highlight a specific issue, what's being done to address it and how we can offer - or find - support.

Today, our focus is on safeguarding children and their families through Early Help and the Think Family approach.

Early Help is a city-wide initiative aimed at intervening as soon as possible to tackle problems emerging for children, young people and their families at risk of developing problems.

Every Thursday morning, an Early Help Allocations meeting is held at Etrop Court in South Manchester and attended by members of our Tenancy Support Team. Any agency can refer into the Early Help Hub including Schools, Health Visitors and Social Workers. In most cases one of the agencies attending will agree to take the lead on an Early Help Assessment with the family; often, we may be the lead for one of our tenants. The assessment uses a strengths-based approach which Manchester have introduced to help safeguard children and young people. The Early Help assessment is also about capturing the voice of the child, to gain a clear picture of their wishes, thoughts and feelings. In many of our cases we will ask the schools to help with this.

Through attending the Early Help meetings, we became aware of the number of Southway tenants who needed help and support around parenting but were on a waiting list to attend one of the two courses run by Manchester City Council annually. By training up members of the Tenancy Support Team to deliver 1-to-1 parenting support and group work, we have enhanced our Early Help support as well as meeting a need within our communities.

We now hold a weekly parenting support drop in at Westcroft Community Centre, called Positive Parenting and support Manchester City Council to deliver their sessions by increasing capacity and ensuring that Southway tenants are moved up the waiting list.

The aspects of parenting we work on are:

  • Boundaries and consistency
  • Choices and consequences
  • Appropriate behaviours
  • Understanding our children and their needs
  • Meeting children’s milestones in their growing development

All of these are really important to safeguard children from harm.

This means that our Tenancy Support Team can now offer a holistic support package to families in need that goes beyond concentrating on the children but adopts the Think Family approach, meaning we can reduce the safeguarding risks to both adults and children in the household.

For more information on Early Help click here. Alternatively, you can contact our Tenancy Support Team via our Facebook, by calling 0161 448 4200 or on the website. To find out more about National Safeguarding Week, click here.