Funding bid to help vulnerable children

County Hall
County Hall

Lancashire County Council could bid for funding from a new £200m cash pot for schemes to transform the life chances of vulnerable children and young people.

But County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said more information is needed about the fund.

County Coun Matthew Tomlinson

County Coun Matthew Tomlinson

He was speaking after Education Minister Nicky Morgan invited councils and charities to bid for a share of the Government cash to fund ”innovative and creative ideas” to help local youngsters.

He said: “We’ll want to see how it develops but clearly who could turn their nose up at £200m? Lancashire is facing a cut of £500m (in funding) from 2010 to 2018.”

Coun Tomlinson’s comments come as LCC awaits the Government’s response on its new Lancashire Children’s Services improvement plan which it submitted last month after its children’s services were criticised as “inadequate” by Ofsted inspectors.

Since the highly critical report the council has appointed a new shared Joint Director of Children’s Services Linda Clegg.

We’ll want to see how it develops but clearly who could turn their nose up at £200m?

Coun Tomlinson said: “I would point to some innovative work we are already doing in Lancashire. ”

He said the Improvement Board – set up following the Ofsted report – included charity representation and was looking to share ideas about how services could look in the future.

Meanwhile Coun Geoff Driver, leader of the Tory opposition group on the county council offered his group’s support with any bids for funding.

Noting that the council has its “hands full already” trying to sort out its children’s services, he said:”It’s absolutely vital we do all we can to help children from less well off backgrounds and particularly those children who might be more vulnerable than others.

“Obviously it’s up to the administration - if they want any help in terms of putting proposals forward we will be only too willing to help. It’s an opportunity; if there’s money going for these initiatives we would be trying to get our share. We need to do all we can for children in Lancashire.”

County Coun Bill Winlow, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the council gave the scheme a cautious welcome. He said: “I would hope the county would look for funding, my worry is that it is tied entirely to devolution deals.”