Durham Council Wins National Awards For Children’s Services Across County

Durham Council Wins National Awards For Children's Services Across County
Dawn Hallewell

A North East council has won a national award for its work to support children and families across County Durham.

Durham County Council’s youth justice service has enjoyed success at the Children and Young People Now Awards, with its Parenting Support Group winning the Family Justice Award.

Despite the pressures of responding to the pandemic, there were more 600 entries into this year’s awards, which have become the gold standard for everyone working with children, young people and families.

The council’s Parenting Support Group (PSG) was established in 2016 to support the parents of young people who offend and who are at risk of offending.

Since then, it has helped more than 70 parents and carers, with sessions focusing on a number of topics including adolescence and the teenage brain, communication and self-care.

The group has also continued to support parents and carers throughout the lockdown, delivering sessions virtually.

Every parent involved with the support group has said it has helped them learn new skills and 100 percent of parents would also recommend the group to other parents in a similar situation.

The service was also highly commended in the Youth Justice Award, for its work with The Skill Mill. The Skill Mill is a social enterprise business that directly employs young people who have previously offended for six months, helping to reduce reoffending and support young people into further longer-term employment.

Cllr Olwyn Gunn, the Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for everyone involved in our youth justice service. These awards highlight the very best practice in work with children, young people and families, so to win one award and be highly commended in another is outstanding.

“Providing much-needed support to parents is crucial in helping our children and young people to lead happy, healthy and safe lives and it is wonderful to hear how much of a difference that our Parenting Support Group makes to both parents and their children.

“The fact that these awards are judged by an expert panel and a panel of young people only further highlights the wonderful work of all those involved who are striving to improve the lives of others. I hope that our staff members, volunteers and parents all feel a great sense of pride for all they are doing to improve the outcomes of our young people.”

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