A NEW initiative to help Cumnock and Auchinleck kids get the best start in life was heard by East Ayrshire’s Cabinet last week.

Council officers have been developing the ‘What Matters to You Initiative’, in partnership with Sir Tom Hunter’s The Hunter Foundation and BBC Children in Need, which is aimed at supporting vulnerable young people and their families.

The scheme’s initial focus will be on Cumnock and Auchinleck, linked to the new Barony Campus.

Council cabinet papers state the plan will ‘ensure an increase in positive destinations for those most impacted by negative underlying circumstances, with a particular focus on families with children at the edges of care’.

In 2018, The Hunter Foundation and BBC Children in Need launched a partnership in Scotland to ‘transform young people’s lives and prove a model of intervention that can be adopted at scale across Scotland and beyond’.

The objective is ‘to identify issues within families that lead to children going into care, as well as developing and implementing support to prevent children entering the care system, wherever possible’.

The initial focus for East Ayrshire will be in the Cumnock and Auchinleck area, linked to the new Barony Campus, but with scope to scale this across the local authority area.

Work will focused on an agreed number of young people and families on the ‘edges of care’, alongside a more general support network for the entire community.

The Hunter Foundation and BBC Children in Need have agreed to commit up to £1m over the next three years, with an initial one-year agreement, extendableby a further two to three years.

Councillors will review progress in early 2020.