New voluntary sector funding for family work

IN Wirral  

Family Coaches Grant

Opportunity for Wirral

VCSE Organisations


About this opportunity

It’s a well-known fact that every family is unique but what we can forget is that we all have one thing in common; we all need some support sometimes, every single one of us, whatever we tell our friends or even ourselves - everyone has something they’d like to get better at. That might be as simple as how we connect with one another and what we can do to make sure everyone enjoys and gets something from their time together, but sometimes it’s more challenging; sometimes it’s a bigger obstacle, more fundamental and with heftier consequences. That’s why we at Wirral Council are working hard to develop more effective services and support that can be accessed by any family, whatever their need, at the right time for them.

As a council, we know that we don’t and can’t do this alone. Organisations like yours, on the ground, working day in and day out with families, are providing the close to home, responsive and flexible support children and adults have told us they want. So, if we want to help families before we even get to bigger problems, we know you’re the ones to lead it with us. We want your head, heart and hands in the new approaches we are testing locally because we know that as a sector, we absolutely need you to make this work.

We’re clear our families know best and last year we spent time working to find out more about what else we could be doing and supporting to get our Early Help services to where they need to be. Several months ago came an opportunity to go for some National Lottery Community Funding to test some of the community-led ideas our families came up with, particularly Family Coaching. At the heart of this approach is two things: letting families take the lead and giving them the tools to make changes for themselves. We want it to be an empowering, fear-free experience that is referral and threshold free, and will allocate the grant to up to 6 local VCSE organisations to co-deliver this pilot with us.

The Family Coaching pilot programme, one of several approaches that we’ll be testing and learning from over the coming six months, needs to hit the mark quickly and clearly whilst being empowering, engaging and aspirational. It’s a pilot that we might (in our professional lives) call a ‘coaching programme’, but if we take it back to the key principles of coaching, we should in simple terms call it ‘a way to help families see what is really inside them, what they should do more of, what they should do less of and what they can do about the things that bother them’.

So what is our ask of you?

We’re looking for you to put forward the best person in your organisation to partner with us as a Family Coach. We’ve included a bit of a job description and quiz to help you identify who might be suitable. In return for their time and effort, we’ll cover their salary (up to £11k for the 6 months) and give them specialist training and support – building into them the core principles of a ‘coach’. This’ll not only give them some amazing skills to take forward in their career, but it’ll give you as an organisation the opportunity to explore coaching as a culture, and (if you don’t already actively use coaching in staff development) it’ll let you dip your toe in to understand a bit more about what it could do for your organisation as a whole.  And, if you are already using coaching actively in your organisation, here is a chance to bring in some additional funding, supporting you to reach even more people.

What is coaching?

When we’re supporting others to improve their lives, we’re often really good at developing their skills by teaching or telling. The idea behind coaching is totally different to this – it's about encouraging people to think through their own challenges and ideas with another person and come up with their own solutions. The role of the coach is to support the person being coached to open their mind to the possibilities before them. We as humans can sometimes be a little bit self-defeatist but the principles of coaching fight against this – they force us to use problem-solving abilities we might not even knew we had and find answers to our own questions and challenges.

Why should you do this?

Well let’s be honest, the first thing is you’re being funded for something extra and we all love those opportunities.

This’ll really integrate you as an organisation into the wider work we as a Council are doing around Early Help and making access to support as simple as possible for all our families.

As mentioned above having a coaching culture is a great string to your organisational bow – encouraging your team to grow by self-discovery is a cracking way to lead. It’ll also support you to develop new partnership relationships and to learn more about how Wirral MBC works locally.

Last but by no means least in these times of COVID we’ve got to do more with less and we’ve got to do it differently. Organisations that recognise this and become part of that change will stand out in the future.


What are we looking for from you?

Things need to get moving very quickly so we’ll need you to have someone who can be committed to this project full-time from September. Therefore, we’re thinking it’s likely this’ll be someone who already works for you.

We need your staff member to come from a position of trust for these families, so you’ll need a track-record as an organisation – at least 12 months working directly with Wirral families. They also need to have some flex – sometimes they might need to work in the evening or at weekends, but of course we’ll leave it to you to make sure that they look after themselves and don’t overdo it on the working hours in the process.

This isn’t a ‘family support’ or ‘social work’ programme so we really need a commitment to the coaching approach (helping people uncover the skills inside them and helping them to work their own way through their challenges).

We need a team effort to make the changes we need to and therefore we don’t want any lone wolves, you’ll be part of a network of Family Coaches and we’ll need you to engage with a range of partners.

You’ll need some infrastructure behind your staff member – a computer, a mobile, and some pretty solid safeguarding and lone working policies and procedures. The standard requirements for organisations in this type of work also apply – the right insurance, firm governance and all that sort of stuff. We also have some volunteer expenses funding for you to bring peer mentors in to the programme, if this feels right for your organisation and your community.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for BRILLIANT organisations to support this pilot. Whether you are a small community organisation or a larger third-sector business, we’d like to hear from you, particularly if you have:

  • Real leaders – the type who know the strengths of themselves and their organisations, but as importantly also know the weaknesses (we all have them)

  • A clear purpose – you’re here because of a need of today or an expected one of tomorrow.

  • Proof you’re doing the right things – you need to be able to prove what you’re doing is working (or if you’re not doing it just yet of solid thinking behind your plan of action).

  • An awareness of where you can improve - no one is perfect, and no organisation is either, we want you to be open-minded to what learning you can do and changes you can make for the better.

  • Local wisdom – place is a unique thing and we want you to have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the wards in which you work.

  • A good understanding of your bank balance – you’ll need to know your organisation’s finances inside out and be open about opportunities and potential challenges

  • The ability to get things moving very quickly – you’ll understand the importance of collaboration, you’ll be able to move quickly and that spirit will run through your organisation like a stick of Blackpool rock.

The funding and training we’re offering is for 6 months (we’re looking at starting asap – so realistically we’d need you to ‘free up’ your Family Coach from the start of September).


Click here to download the VCSE application pack now. 

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We’d welcome any local VCSE organisation who is interested in the opportunity to apply before 5pm on Wednesday 19th August.