Preparing to welcome our armed forces and their families to Stafford

Last year the county took part in a national scheme to help ‘troubled families’ and I am pleased to report that the scheme has been incredibly successful, turning around the lives of hundreds of Staffordshire families.

The broad aim of the scheme is to help parents get back into work, keep children in school and to reduce involvement in criminal and anti-social behaviour. The new approach of targeting the whole family, rather than individual members, is one of the reasons for the scheme’s success.

We’ve now got many families to the point of being more self-reliant, responsible and ultimately causing fewer problems in their local community. Stable families provide a platform for children to do better in school and that better education will help them in the long run to take advantage of the jobs and opportunities in the future.

We will start to focus on families with a wider range of problems, such as domestic violence, debt, health and where children are at risk of being taken into care. Working with our partners, we hope to help 5,000 families by 2020.

I’ve also been to see first-hand how the £150 million construction project is going at the Beacon Barracks site in Stafford. The site will soon be home for 1000 military personnel from 16 Signal Regiment and 1 Armoured Division Signal Regiment, plus their families.

Stafford has always had strong links with the armed forces and it is important that we provide the right conditions to allow our military personnel and their families to thrive. The site will include a mix of housing, technical and recreational facilities and a brand new school. The move is also expected to create a £90million boost to the local economy, with highly-skilled personnel moving into the site; bringing with them a wealth of expertise in information technology and communications. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the families over the summer and are working closely with the Ministry of Defence and Defence Infrastructure Organisation to make sure everything is in place for when they arrive.

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