MORE than half of Bolton’s worst families have been helped to turn their lives around with help from a council scheme.

Bolton Council said 504 "challenging" families have been successfully helped since March 2012.

This means under the scheme, named locally as Families First, children are back in school, anti-social behaviour and crime has been reduced, people have come off benefits and are back in employment.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We’ve made some excellent progress in our Family First programme, helping to turn around 60 per cent of the 830 families already.

“As a result, we’ve been selected to take part in phase two of the scheme, which will enable us to work with a new group of families who need help.

“The scheme has been well received in Bolton by the families as they benefit from having a single point of contact, rather than people from a range of different authorities and support services.

“We’re very pleased with the progress made so far and will continue to work with our partners to ensure that families who are struggling receive the best possible help at an early stage.

"This will also reduce pressure on services in the future.”

Families with multiple problems and those who cause issues in the community are targeted under the scheme, which is said to reduce “the high costs” they put on the public sector each year.

Vulnerable families helped are experiencing issues in three areas — education; worklessness; crime or anti-social behaviour; children involved in social care.

The project is based on a payment by results model, which means the authority can claim extra funding for the scheme if significant improvement is made with a family, for exmaple those helped back into work.

Bolton Council has qualified for £239,000.

So far, 440 families have been turned around in relation to education, crime and anti-social behaviour, and 64 are off benefits and into employment.

In a report outlining the success of the scheme, the council states: “We are particularly proud of our success in getting people back into work.

"We estimate by the end of the project we should have turned about 80 to 85 per cent of the families we are working with.”

Local authority workers also enlist the helped of agencies such as Child Action North and Urban Out Reach to help the families in need.