A NEW £1 million fund to support disadvantaged families in Worcestershire has been confirmed by Worcestershire County Council.

It follows the success of an application by the Worcestershire Partnership, the county council and the voluntary sector for funding to improve the lives of families in the county.

Worcestershire Partnership, together with Peter MacKenzie-Shaw, the county council's funding and resources manager, submitted the application to bid for cash from the Government’s Improving Futures Fund.

The application's winning innovative concept has led to £900,000 from the Improving Futures Fund which, together with £100,000 from the county council, will be used to improve the lives of families and specifically improve the “life chances” of children aged between five and 10.

The cash will be managed through a three-year programme and delivered by voluntary sector partners Vestia Community Trust. The programme will have funding to tackle the needs of up to 70 families.

Its aim is to ensure young children from disadvantaged families are given the best chances of reaching their full potential by offering the families a greater choice of the services available to them in a co-ordinated and controlled manner.

Central Government announced Improving Futures in May this year, to be administrated through the National Lottery. The fund is aimed at targeting families with multiple needs and voluntary organisations from around the country were invited to submit an application, together with the aid of their local authority.

Mr Mackenzie-Shaw said: "The county council has worked hard with the Worcestershire Partnership and representatives from the voluntary sector to make this application successful.

“The news could have been very different and we are delighted our hard work and persistence has eventually paid off. The result is a substantial amount of cash, which will benefit a great number of families in the county."