Alex Rowley, Fife Labour Leader, has called for more family centres to
be rolled out across the Kingdom.
Recently, The Cottage Family Centre in Kirkcaldy was highlighted as a
example of excellence by Professor Susan Deacon and Fife MP, Gordon Brown.
The centre supports parents, and families, with a wide range of issues
and last year set up the Dads Group to support fathers in becoming better
Mr Rowley said he had invited Susan Deacon to Fife to see for herself
the good work the centre carries out. She recently authored a report for the
Scottish Government called ‘Joining the Dots’ which sets out steps to tackle
child poverty and social issues and their causes. One of its recommendations is
for the creation of more family centres.
Mr Rowley said: “I welcome Susan’s visit to Fife and I know she was
impressed by the Cottage, and rightly so. The staff there do a fantastic job in
supporting families, and recently dads, in various ways through a range of
counselling and skills development and practical lifestyle education – and this
is all available to the centre users under one roof.
“I would like to see more of these family centres and this kind of
support work expanded into other communities across Fife, and the Cottage
centre should certainly be used as a model,” said Mr Rowley.
In her report, Professor Deacon states that family centres should be
created in all communities across Scotland to help tackled social issues
relating to child poverty and early years education and development.
She is keen to stress that not everything that matters costs money and
refers to better standards of home lifestyle and parenting skills being key to
Ms Deacon said: “My honest opinion is that in an awful lot of things
we’ve lost the plot, we’ve forgotten some of the basic human realities that
make a difference to us. We’ve forgotten just how important childhood, children
and families are. We’ve forgotten just how much our relationships with other
people mean to us.
“We’ve put an awful lot of time and energy and effort and money into big
fancy strategies and grand plans, ever more de-personalised and
over-professionalised ways of coming at a lot of these issues and it’s been
well intentioned, but it’s not been effective. And if ever there’s a time we
need to remember these basic human things that really matter to us, then surely
it’s now and make sure every bit of public money is available that supports
She said: “We have to get it across that it’s the
kind of activity that’s going on at the Cottage Family Centre that actually
transforms people’s lives, and transforms their future.”