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Nearly 30 families have signed up for a new round of the City of Cape Town’s Strengthening Families programme in Maitland and Gugulethu. The programme, which kicked off in 2013, has already reached more than 500 families in 35 suburbs. Read more below:

This week 14 families in Maitland and 14 in Gugulethu registered and attended the first sessions of the City’s Strengthening Families programme in their respective areas.

The programme is designed to improve the communication and relationships within families, and in turn contribute to social cohesion.

It forms part of the Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department’s broader substance abuse prevention programme.

‘As a caring city, we realise that to tackle social issues such as gang violence and drug abuse, we need to start at the heart of our communities. That heart is the family and we need them to be resilient in the face of these societal ills plaguing so many communities.

‘Families need help not just to communicate and understand each other better, but often also to make more informed and better choices. Poor choices are often a result of discord within families, which then spills over into communities,’ said the Mayoral Committee Member for Area North, Councillor Suzette Little.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Area Central, Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli, said he was heartened by the families who signed up for the programme.

‘It is not always easy to admit when you need help, and these families are very brave in taking this step. While they are doing it for themselves and to improve their relationships, it also benefits the community to have stronger families.

‘The City’s services extend beyond the basics. A key value of our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan is service excellence and this includes building stronger families and communities, thus ensuring a more level playing field and promoting accessibility for all,’ said Councillor Mamkeli.

The Strengthening Families programme uses practical and interactive methods to encourage communication between parents and children. It is an evidence-based programme that has proven results where participants are less likely to engage in substance use in adulthood.

Topics for parents and caregivers include setting limits, dealing with drugs, and encouraging good behaviour. Children are taught how to deal with peer pressure, how to appreciate their parents, and to have goals and dreams.

The programme will be rolled out to 18 more suburbs and by the end of the financial year would have reached more than 216 parents and 432 children.

The pilot phase of the programme started in 2013, when 63 families from Scottsdene, Elsies River, Manenberg, Lavender Hill and Bonteheuwel attended the eight-week course.

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