North Ayrshire's debt, welfare and housing advice charity CHAP is teaming up with Children 1st to maximise help for struggling local families.

It comes thanks to a £10,000 grant from National Lottery Awards for All Scotland.

Ray Chaney, chair of CHAP’s board of trustees, said: “In challenging times, we all need to play to our strengths and explore ways of creating maximum benefit through partnership and shared resources.

“Children 1st does great work supporting young people and families in a wide range of ways and know from experience that money worries are often a significant issue. CHAP can add a higher level of specialist debt support to the work they already do. 

“We are immensely grateful to the National Lottery for allowing this pilot partnership to take place across North Ayrshire.”

Children 1st and CHAP, which are based in Ardrossan, have a similar ethos, in that both offer non-judgemental, practical advice and assistance, recognising that every individual or family’s challenges are unique.

This National Lottery funding allows both to work hand-in-hand, adding an additional level of support, including liaison with creditors and the court system. 

Fiona McBride, assistant director of Children 1st, said: “Times are hard and the challenges people face are rarely one-dimensional. By combining our core strengths, we are better able to address the complexities of life and to offer well integrated help and advice.

“The National Lottery funding has made this year-long pilot possible. It is our earnest hope that it can be expanded geographically in future to ensure the best possible support is made available under one roof, to help the maximum number of families in crisis.”

CHAP operates several drop-in hubs within the community in North Ayrshire and will also use these to refer callers to Children 1st, where appropriate.

Children 1st offers services right across Scotland but the initial, year-long partnership with CHAP is available in North Ayrshire only.

Kate Still, Scotland chair, The National Lottery Community Fund, said; “We are delighted to support this initiative which will support more integrated services across North Ayrshire, allowing people in need to access help through a single source.

"In turn, this will help to reduce stress and speed up the process of helping children and families overcome the challenges they are facing. National Lottery players can be proud they help to support this vital work.“

The new partnership between CHAP and Children 1st comes into being this summer.