STV provides FAST support for family school project

Posted on 18/02/2014 by



Save the Children has received over £177,000 from the STV Appeal 2013 to deliver its Families and Schools Together (FAST) programme across Scotland.

Families and Schools Together (FAST) is an award-winning, family focused programme that brings together parents, children, teachers and the wider community to make sure children get the support they need to fulfil their potential at school and in life.

The eight week programme, aimed at parents, carers and children aged three to eight, has been proven to help children achieve more in schools and improve family relationships and links between home, school and the local community.

The programme is entirely voluntary and open to all families, with typical activities including singing, family games, imaginative play, and sitting down together to eat a family meal. It provides a fun and relaxed space for families to experience a mixture of play and learning activities, hands on coaching and support for parents and carers.

FAST was originally developed in the US by Professor Lynn McDonald and runs in partnership with Middlesex University throughout the whole of the UK. Funds from the STV Appeal will allow Save the Children to run FAST in 20 schools and six local authorities across Scotland, potentially reaching over 800 children.

The STV Appeal was set up in 2011 by STV and The Hunter Foundation and in 2013 the Wood Family Trust pledged its support to the Appeal. Now in its third year, the STV Appeal has raised a total of £5.8million which has been invested in 163 big and small community projects across all 32 local authority areas in Scotland, helping over 18,000 children. Every penny raised stays in Scotland and goes directly towards helping the children who need it most.

One in five children across Scotland live in poverty – and for some communities that figure is even worse. In parts of the country every second family is living in poverty meaning that in every community there will be a family struggling to feed its kids, a family struggling to clothe them in the winter, a family struggling just to make ends meet. The STV Appeal works in communities all over Scotland helping those young people and giving them the same opportunity that other children take for granted. Working at a local level, the STV Appeal has helped projects in every local authority.

Neil Mathers, Save the Children’s Head of Scotland, said: “FAST has been phenomenally successful in Scotland and the feedback we get from schools and parents is always so positive. More families than ever are keen to be involved this year and with the help of STV Appeal, we will be able to make this happen.

“It’s clear from visiting each FAST programme how much children enjoy the activities and time spent with their families and that this has a positive impact on how they view school.”

Rob Woodward, STV CEO and trustee of the STV Appeal, said: “The third year of the STV Appeal has been our most successful yet. With the help of our generous supporters and fantastic fundraising efforts taking place right across Scotland we have now raised over £5.8m. The money donated to the STV Appeal stays right here in Scotland and will help make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young people on our doorstep.”

Sir Tom Hunter, trustee of the STV Appeal, said: “The STV Appeal is for Scotland by Scotland’s people who truly have stepped up to support our work in trying to beat the horror that is child poverty here in Scotland. This is a long haul but at the end of the day we can and we will eradicate the impacts poverty has on Scotland’s young people. Every single penny we raise goes directly to tackling the issue of child poverty across all of Scotland something I’m really proud of.”

Sir Ian Wood, trustee of the STV Appeal, said: “This is the Wood Family Trust’s first year of involvement with the STV Appeal to help tackle the issue of child poverty in Scotland. We are delighted to be part of the fundraising endeavours of so many, which have enabled the distribution of such significant financial support to local projects in our own communities. We are optimistic that with the generous total raised by supporters of the STV Appeal, combined with the on-going hard work and dedication seen in communities across Scotland, the lives of children and young people affected by poverty in Scotland can, and will, be changed for the better.”

FAST has already proved to be a great success in North Edinburgh – see the ‘FAST work at Craigroyston’ NEN blog post in March 2012. The STV Appeal grant will now enable FAST to be delivered in new areas in Dundee, Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire.