Liverpool Safe & Sound

Child hard hatMarch 2012

Securing a future for Liverpool’s home safety equipment scheme

A strong partnership with the local fire service enabled children’s centre co-ordinator Claire Campbell to secure continued funding for the Safe & Sound home safety equipment scheme.

Claire set up the Safe & Sound scheme in January 2010 with funding and support from Safe At Home, a RoSPA initiative which aimed to provide safety equipment to the most disadvantaged families in areas with the highest accident rates. As the ROSPA funding was only available until March 2011, Claire knew that she’d need to look elsewhere for funding if the scheme was to continue.

The approach

Forming a partnership

During the first year of the Safe & Sound scheme, Claire built strong links with Merseyside Fire Service. The children’s centres and the fire service both saw that a partnership would help each organisation deliver on their objectives.

“The fire service’s call centre could process referrals to the home safety equipment scheme and their staff could not only fit the equipment but also conduct fire safety checks and fit smoke alarms at the same time,” explains Claire. “What the children’s centres brought to the table was an established presence in local communities and well-established links with GPs, health visitors and others who work with families.”

The charity arm of the fire service – the Fire Support Network – agreed to fit the safety equipment in people’s homes, while the children’s centre staff took responsibility for providing information and training for parents.

Making the case for funding

In the run-up to March 2011, the Fire Support Network bid for funding to keep the scheme running for a further year. Their bid included evidence on the impact made in the first year of the scheme. From January 2010 – March 2011, a total of 4,100 families received equipment through the scheme, exceeding the targets set by RoSPA. It also highlighted how the children’s centres had successfully embedded the scheme into a wide family support network, by giving GPs, health visitors, community midwives and voluntary sector partners information about the scheme and asking them to refer families to it.

The bid also outlined changes to the scheme’s eligibility criteria that would make sure it reaches the families most in need of support. “The ROSPA-backed scheme was open to families with children up to 5 years old. It was decided to reduce the age range to 0-2 year olds, to help us make a difference in family homes as early as possible,” explains Claire. “We tightened some of the benefit criteria for applying to the scheme, but also added specific criteria to open it up to parents aged 19 or under and families who are seeking asylum or refuge.”

Outcomes

The funding application was successful and the Safe & Sound team set themselves a target of providing equipment to a further 1,829 families from April 2011 – March 2012. The funding goes directly to the Fire Support Network. For the children’s centres, the scheme has become a key part of the service they provide and the time staff spend on it is absorbed into core running costs.

Some of the funding is being spent on evaluation, with the Fire Support Network working alongside Liverpool John Moores University on quality of service questionnaires and home visits. Claire knows that having robust data will help when it comes to looking for new funding sources for the scheme from April 2012. “We hope to be able to show that Safe & Sound has led to overall cost savings for the NHS, fewer accidents and fatalities within the home, more unemployed individuals accessing training and gaining skills, and an increase in registrations at children’s centres.”

Claire and her children’s centre colleagues have continued to build on their strong working relationship with the Fire Support Network. “We meet regularly to review how the scheme is working and to tackle any issues as soon as they arise,” comments Claire. “For example, if the fire service team feel they’re not getting enough referrals from a certain area, I can follow up with the relevant children’s centres and get staff to raise awareness with local families.”

What we can learn

  • The partnership between the children’s centres and the Fire Support Network works well because it supports the objectives of both organisations. Each side contributes essential infrastructure and expertise to the partnership.
  • The scheme makes good use of well-established children’s centre referral networks. GPs, health visitors, community midwives and voluntary sector partners can all refer families to the scheme via their local children’s centre. The single referral pathway means that all families have a chance to find out what else is on offer at the children’s centre.
  • You can use eligibility criteria to show that you’re targeting your home safety equipment scheme in the most effective way for your area, to achieve the greatest impact with the resources you have available.

Further information

For more information about the work discussed in this case study, please contact Claire Campbell on or 0151 225 6624 or claire.campbell@liverpool.gov.uk

Updated February 2014