Maximise! is a Family Advice and Support Project delivered in partnership by Children 1st and CHAI (Community Help and Advice Initiative) and supported by the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, NHS Lothian, the City of Edinburgh Council and Capital City Partnership.
Maximise! takes a child-centred, family minded approach to tackling child poverty in Edinburgh, offering family support, advice, and employability via one single gateway within each of Edinburgh’s localities. The service is embedded within school clusters and early years centres, making it easily accessible to families in need of support. Holistic, community-based advice and support is provided to parents, children and young people who are, or are at risk of, experiencing poverty to overcome the barriers that families experiencing poverty face in achieving at school, work, home and in the community.
In Scotland, children from low-income households do significantly worse at school than those from better-off homes. It is recognised by the Scottish Government that a gap exists in the progress made between children from higher and lower income families – this is referred to as the 'attainment gap'. Data shows that Edinburgh’s attainment gap is more pronounced than that of other areas in Scotland. The whole family support approach that Maximise! takes aims to improve families’ financial resilience and health and wellbeing, as well as increasing children’s positive participation in school life and education attainment to reduce the attainment gap experienced by lower income families. Maximise! began in one school cluster (six schools) in South East Edinburgh in 2018. An Advice Worker, Family Wellbeing Worker and Employability Worker were based within the school cluster for one year, offering a whole family, trauma-informed and person-centred approach via one single gateway to address the complex issues that often impact families who are affected by poverty.
Offering a multi-disciplinary service with one single entry point eliminates the need for families to be passed from pillar to post. This reduces the risk of repeated assessments, referral processes and potential negative experiences for families experiencing poverty. Following the success of the pilot of Maximise! in the South East, additional funding was received, allowing the service to expand to all four localities in Edinburgh.
Maximise! now works in partnership with Early Years Centres in Edinburgh, read more about this service offer here.