FIRST Minister John Swinney has made a visit to the Wee County to hear how parents and pupils are benefiting from work to tackle child poverty.

The first minister, along with Shirely-Anne Somerville – cabinet secretary for social justice – were welcomed to Alloa Academy on Wednesday, May 15.

The visit came less than a week after the first meeting of the new cabinet with the senior politicians meeting with parents and pupils who are benefiting from the work of the local authority’s Family Wellbeing Partnership.

Continued Scottish Government funding of £300,000 was also announced for the programme, which seeks to tackle child poverty and inequalities in Wee County communities.

Clacks Council leader Ellen Forson said it was a “privilege” to welcome the duo to Alloa with a chance to showcase the ongoing work.

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She said: “The Family Wellbeing Partnership is working with third sector organisations and community groups here in Clackmannanshire to reshape the services that people want and need.

“This collaborative approach aims to make it easier for families to access the support they need, when they need it.

“Clackmannanshire is one of only six areas in Scotland to be taking a whole family approach to childcare and I am proud we are leading the way in reforming how public services are designed and delivered to communities.

“We are delighted with the ongoing support from the Scottish Government, which will make a real difference in our communities.”

The partnership formed in 2020 and seeks to capture learning, over time, to test and embed new ways of working that can be scaled and replicated across other local authorities.

A key aspect is to understand the extent to which power and agency can be transferred to children, families and the frontline staff who support them.

The partnership ultimately seeks to help families out of poverty, drawing on collective local and joint resources to improve wellbeing and outcomes.

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Ms Somerville, social justice secretary, said: “The first minister has made clear that the national mission to eradicate child poverty is his top priority.

“The work underway at Alloa Academy is a great example of community and public sector supports wrapping around a school community to help tackle poverty and inequality and support people’s wellbeing.

“I am delighted to confirm we will continue to collaborate with Clackmannanshire Council to support the Family Wellbeing Partnership and make a further £300,000 of funding available this year.”

The focus of Wednesday's visit was on the Community Around the School approach, which has been pioneered at the academy to support young people and their families.

It is now being developed in other Clacks secondaries and the young people and their families were delighted to take the opportunity to discuss the positive difference this approach is having.