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Cornwall County Council wins Beacon Status for preventing and tackling child poverty For immediate release 4 March 2009 Sadiq Khan MP last night awarded Cornwall County Council Beacon status for their outstanding work in preventing and tackling child poverty. The council walked away with a share of £3m government funding to expand their work and help other councils achieve the same success. The Beacon awards recognise local government‟s excellence and innovation in improving quality of life for their residents and communities. Sadiq Khan, Communities Minister comments, "My congratulations go out to Cornwall County Council. The Beacons are about showcasing the very best in service delivery, and in this, their final year, we really have seen some exceptional examples of preventing and tackling child poverty. Cornwall County Council is among the top performers in their field, setting the standard for innovation, service excellence and improvement. With the added emphasis on economic recovery in this year‟s Beacons, the winners are ideally placed to share their knowledge and skills to improve the sector as a whole.” Marianne Hood, chair of the Beacons Panel continues, “Being awarded Beacon status means that Cornwall County Council will receive recognition, from national government and other authorities, for its expertise in preventing and tackling child poverty. I will be closely following the work that the Beacon authorities carry out, and wish them the very best of luck, in their new role sharing knowledge and supporting improvement.” Cornwall County Council and the other Beacon councils for this theme will now work together, with the support of the Improvement and Development Agency, using a range of learning activities to help improve standards in all authorities in this area. Cornwall‟s project, called Real Choices, brings together a broad range of public, private, voluntary and community sector partners working to break the cycle of child poverty and ensure each child in Cornwall has the chance to fulfil their potential. Concentrating on prevention rather than treatment, the project is working to improve employment rates, narrow inequalities of opportunity for poor children, improve local services for children and promote the take up of benefits locally. Savings made on treatment will be ploughed back into poverty prevention schemes. Key features include a countywide mapping exercise to establish „virtual‟ wards made up of families on benefits with a defined common need, as opposed to where they live. The delivery of services to families within these pockets of

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deprivation will be joined up to provide better co-ordinated, localised agency support. Families will be provided with new experiences and opportunities, including family „getaways‟ to give respite from everyday problems, building trust, raising family aspirations and exploring ways of breaking the cycle of child poverty. The project, led by Cornwall County Council‟s Family Services, Cornwall Works and Inclusion Cornwall, has funding from HM Treasury‟s Invest to Save – Inclusive Communities Budget (ISB) which is designed to provide resources to develop partnerships between local authorities and the voluntary and community sector to improve public services. The ceremony was attended by Real Choices project co-ordinator James Hardy, Head of Family Services Richard Williams, ex Sure Start parent and parent advisor on the Real Choices project Rachael Mathews and Cllr Terry Lello, Cornwall‟s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families. Cllr Terry Lello said: “Congratulations to Family Services for making the bid for this project and the Real Choices team for making it a reality. The project is an excellent example of different sectors working together across Cornwall to improve outcomes for the poorest young people in the county – nothing could be more important for the county‟s future and we are thrilled to have been recognised in this way. Much of the work for this project is going on in the 36 children‟s centres across Cornwall and we applaud Family Services for leading this work.” Real Choices project co-ordinator James Hardy said: “We are very pleased our project has been given national praise and look forward to stepping up what we‟ve been doing and to share our work with other counties. The whole thinking behind our bid is that prevention is better than cure and we will continue to do our best to help families living in poverty break that cycle and to intervene early when it‟s needed.” The „preventing and tackling child poverty‟ theme, sponsored by Action for Children, recognises those authorities taking action to eradicate child poverty. Ten years ago, the Government pledged to eradicate child poverty by 2020. In being awarded Beacon status, Cornwall County Council and the other winners have shown they are working together with other local organisations to reduce inequalities that many children and their families suffer from - around employment, education, health and housing - to improve their opportunities. The Beacon Scheme is funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), and the programme is managed at the Improvement and Development Agency for local government. This year, the independent Beacon panel received 125 applications (involving 159 authorities), and using an extensive judging process, they whittled this number down to a shortlist of 62.

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-endsFor further information please contact: Vicky Maunder, Media Relations Executive, Improvement and Development Agency 0207 296 6144 victoria.maunder@idea.gov.uk or Helen Roberts, Cornwall County Council Family Services Marketing Officer 01872 266354

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Notes to editors: Pictures attached. Photo 5240 shows (L-R) Richard Williams, Head of Family Services, Rachael Mathews, parent advisor, Cllr Terry Lello, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families, James Hardy, Real Choices Project Coordinator Photo 5184 shows (L-R) Beverley Hughes, MP, Tony McNulty, MP, Richard Williams, James Hardy, Terry Lello, Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of Action for Children, Rachael Mathews and Sadiq Khan, MP The Government established the Beacon Scheme in 1999 to identify excellence in local government and enable best practice to be shared with others. The 12 themes against which Round 10 awards were made are as follows: 1. After dark: managing the night-time economy 2. Digital Inclusion: tackling exclusion and promoting life chances (sponsored by Becta) 3. Cohesive and resilient communities 4. Homes for the future 5. Cutting red tape: delivering real economic and social benefit through better regulation (sponsored by the Local Better Regulation Office) 6. Olympic Games and Paralympics legacy: using the opportunity of hosting the Games to encourage communities to be more active 7. Positive engagement of older people to support and promote greater independence and well-being in later life (sponsored by Stannah Group) 8. Preventing and tackling child poverty (sponsored by Action for Children) 9. Strategic commissioning 10. Supporting independent living for disabled adults 11. Raising economic prosperity through partnerships (sponsored by Interserve) 12. Better outcomes for people and places In this, the 10th round of the scheme, 43 Beacon awards have been given to 56 authorities, from an original pool of 125 applications involving 159 authorities. 62 applications were shortlisted for this year‟s awards, involving 79 different authorities, seven of whom were Best Value authorities. £3 million has been allocated for the active promotion of all the good practice identified during this round. This will cover dissemination activities including learning events, open days and peer support. Beacon status is awarded to best value authorities representing the diversity of local government – urban and rural, unitary and two-tier, and from different parts of the country. The scheme is relevant to all kinds of authorities, including fire, transport and police authorities.

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The Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) will work with the successful authorities to organise bespoke learning events and activities An independent Advisory Panel makes recommendations to Ministers on the selection of Beacon authorities in each round. Ministers across the Government then make final decisions. For further information on the Beacon Scheme please go to www.beacons.idea.gov.uk More information on the Inclusive Communities Budget is available at www.isb.gov.uk


				
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