A Scottish Government minister has visited East Lothian to learn about a new family service in the Dunbar and Tranent areas.

Natalie Don MSP, Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise, heard about Families Together East Lothian – a “one-stop shop” for families seeking support.

The programme has received money through the Scottish Government’s £500m Whole Family Wellbeing Funding programme, which aims to reduce the need for crisis intervention with a shift in investment towards prevention.

East Lothian is one of three local children’s strategic planning partnership (CSPP) areas which, along with East Ayrshire and Glasgow City CSPPs, have been chosen to receive additional support to accelerate this model locally and contribute to national learning.

Families Together East Lothian is currently operating in two pilot areas – Dunbar and Tranent/ Fa’side.

Its family outreach workers offer tailored support on the issues that families feel matter to them.

These could include social, emotional and behavioural regulation support, parenting strategies, approaches to budgeting and managing a household, and support to manage transitions.

The team works closely with other council services and third-sector partners to make sure that families benefit from a network of support for as long as it is needed.

During Ms Don’s visit to Musselburgh East Community Learning Centre, she met with senior council officials who are driving the project forward, as well as colleagues from Scottish Government, Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection (CELSIS) and the children and young people improvement collaborative (CYPIC).

She heard about the programme’s early successes, such as offering support to 145 families within the two pilot areas in the first nine months and the team’s expansion into East Lothian-wide delivery.

Ms Don said: “The Scottish Government’s £500m Whole Family Wellbeing Funding is focusing on the system change required to shift investment towards early intervention and prevention activities, to ensure families can access support before they reach crisis point.

“Meeting staff from East Lothian helped show how we can make positive change happen for families.

“We can learn from their experiences, working together to improve outcomes for the people we support.”

Councillor Fiona Dugdale, East Lothian Council’s cabinet member for education and children’s and family services, added: “Families want the tools and resources that will help them to remain healthy, happy and together, and they inherently know what will work for them.

“Families Together East Lothian is about recognising the strengths that already exist within the household, what extra support is needed and putting that in place.

“It’s entirely voluntary and we are already seeing that strong bonds are quickly built between our workers and the families, which benefits everyone.

“Family life is not always easy and it’s really important that, when help is needed, it’s easy to access.

“This early intervention can help prevent matters from escalating and people finding themselves at crisis point; it improves families’ wellbeing and reduces the potential for more intensive involvement later.

“We were pleased to meet with the minister and update her on our progress to date and our shared ambition to make East Lothian the best place to live and grow up in and where all our families can thrive.”