New project to support 4,500 young families in North Wales
A pioneering new project will see greater access to emotional and practical support than ever before for more than 4,500 young parents in North Wales.
ASPIRE, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, will support young parents aged 14 to 25 in Wrexham and Flintshire.
The project brings together the expertise of Glyndŵr University, Barnardo’s Cymru, Flintshire Mind, Careers Choices and the Flintshire and Wrexham Family Information Services.
Support will include advice on basic parenting skills through to help with education, employment and mental health.
The project will also include a peer mentoring scheme where young parents will support other young parents.
Led by nursing lecturers Debbie Roberts and Alison Owen-Traynor, Glyndŵr University will help to gather and coordinate information from young parents on what their needs are, and to monitor and evaluate the project’s success.
Speaking at the project’s launch at Alyn Waters Country Park, Wrexham, Laura Williams, ASPIRE project coordinator from Barnardo’s Cymru, said: “Barnardo’s is particularly excited to be involved in a project like this. We have a long history of transforming the lives of young people.
"Every child has the right to achieve their potential regardless of background and we really hope to embody the Barnardo’s values through every part of ASPIRE.”
Rona Aldrich, Wales committee member for the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Our passion and remit is to regenerate and revitalise communities and as a local resident I’m always delighted to see applications for funding come in from North Wales.
“We want young people to be what they want to be and achieve what they want to achieve. We are delighted to fund this project and I look forward to seeing how it progresses over the next five years.”
23-year-old Leanne Westhead has already signed up to volunteer as a mentor for young parents. She said: “I fell pregnant when I was 18 and it would have been extremely beneficial to have this kind of support available – even just for help on simple things like how to make a bottle up for a child, which I knew nothing about at the time.
“I sought the support of Barnardo’s shortly after my first child was born and without their advice and the support of friends and family I don’t know what I would have done.”
Eleri Thomas, chief executive officer from the Children’s Commission for Wales, said: “It is a pleasure for us to be supporting this fantastic project. It’s absolutely critical that we collectively support young families as we want to provide young children with the very best start in life.
“This is a really inspiring partnership project. We’ve been overwhelmed by the encouragement of everyone in the room at this launch and there’s only one way this project can go and that is achieving success.
The ASPIRE project team is based at the Barnardo’s Compass Partnership office in Grosvenor Road, Wrexham.
Any young families seeking further information can contact the team on 01978 315130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org