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Faith in Families fights on as Communities First is scrapped

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Faith in Families has vowed to fight on to secure the future of its three Swansea family centres after Communities Secretary Carl Sargeant confirmed this afternoon that the Welsh Government’s flagship anti-poverty programme will be scrapped.

The charity’s Penplas, Bonymaen and Clase centres rely on the Communities First programme for nearly 80% of their funding.

Mr Sargeant said: “We have listened very carefully to thousands of people who have been involved in Communities First, either as employees or participants. While it is clear that Communities First was successful in its impact on many individuals, it has not had an impact on overall poverty levels in these communities, which remain stubbornly high.

“A new approach is needed which deals with the root causes of poverty. We will take forward a cross-government, all-Wales approach focused on helping people into work, giving children the best start in life, and ensuring people’s voices are heard in the design of local services.”

Faith in Families CEO Cherrie Bija said: “We’ll fight on to help people reach their ambitions. We focus on helping people reach their potential using the basic principles of early intervention, using a holistic approach, and we hope the communities secretary will seek to preserve the vital services our family centres deliver.

“Mr Sargeant is also focusing on helping people back into work, and we are there when people take their first steps towards finding a job, developing their confidence to take the first step.

“Our work is about engaging and empowering families, and we hope Mr Sergeant will take note of that when making any decisions in the future.”

Funding at 70% of current levels will be provided to the Communities First programme until March 2018. A legacy fund of £6m a year, to enable some of the programme’s most effective projects to continue, will be introduced in April 2018.