A Case Study
One of CHAI’s service offerings falls under the banner of Maximise! whereby a core team of specialists successfully help families with young children to maximise their income. The programme is currently operating within ten Early Years Centres.
Maximise! is a joint support service delivered by both CHAI and Children 1st offering family support, advice, and employability via one single gateway, at the same time, for as long as each individual family needs. The support often runs in tandem, with more than one Maximise! worker involved in a client’s progression journey at any one time.
The success of Maximise! can be attributed to taking a true child-centred, family-minded approach to tackling child poverty in our city. Family Wellbeing Support links the home with community and help to build structure, routines and positive relationships, leading to healthy mental wellbeing. Our Advice Workers support with any needs relating to housing, benefits and debt and help usually starts with a benefit check, to ensure that all clients are receiving every penny they are entitled to. Progression Workers are involved when the time is right, to offer support in exploring the world of work or education, training or volunteering, but ultimately to build confidence and overcome barriers.
Earlier this month, one of our Maximise! clients was successful in securing a part-time job, offering her the chance to work on a hybrid basis while her son is in day care. The positive outcome is that this single mum is working and still also receiving her benefits, thereby maximising her income alongside restoring her sense of self.
Reaching this point has been a great achievement and our client maintains this is attributable to each of the three elements making up the wraparound Maximise! service, often at the same time. This young mum was on the verge of becoming homeless but with the support of Maximise! she is now feeling safe in her own home and her son is enjoying attending the local nursery for a few hours each day. And, as of last week, she is enjoying meaningful employment within a sector that motivates her to be her best every day.
Furthermore, this Maximise! client benefited from a service provided by Smart Works, one of CHAI’s charity partners with the city. Ahead of her job interview, our client attended the Smart Works office in Leith and received a new interview outfit, during an hour-long consultation and try-on experience. After this, Smart Works offer a mock interview on their premises, aligned to the respective vacancy, where clients wear their new interview attire to have a true taster of their imminent interview process. The feedback speaks for itself: “I absolutely loved the dresses that I saw when I was there the first time, so I asked if I could look at them again and I was so chuffed to be given one for my next clothes parcel. I wore the dress on my first day.”
Above is a picture of our client in her interview attire, alongside the Smart Works volunteer (Left) and our Maximise! Progression Worker (Right).
If you would like to join the Maximise! Programme, please speak to the staff in your Early Years Centre or call the CHAI office on 0131 442 2100.