Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's One of the Biggest Things I Will Ever Do; Tycoon Reveals Ambitious Plans to Help Thousands of Deprived Families

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's One of the Biggest Things I Will Ever Do; Tycoon Reveals Ambitious Plans to Help Thousands of Deprived Families

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

AN army of volunteers will be created as a North East millionaire announces plans to intervene in the lives of thousands of deprived families.

Car firm millionaire Sir Peter Vardy is to put his money into The Jigsaw Foundation, inspired by an American organisation which uses church volunteers to target those parents in need of early intervention.

Sir Peter's charity will by the end of this year be working with several councils offering to use church volunteers to help find homes for children to stay at while "family mentors" tackle addiction and unemployment.

"It's one of the biggest things I'll ever do," said Sir Peter. "It really puts the car business into perspective when you consider the size of this."

A national roll-out is set to start after trials in Middlesbrough first, followed by Sunderland and Manchester.

Sir Peter, who has also set up schools across the North East, told The Journal: "You look at things from a business point of view and you think, some people are costing us as a country a lot, in crime, in addiction, in homelessness. And what is the cause of this? Well, the cause in a lot of cases is the breakdown of the family.

"If we can stop it we stand some chance of getting those bits of the jigsaw put together. "Because we can't afford this, we are bankrupt as a nation.

"An army of volunteers giving some time can do this.

"Not every volunteer will be able to take on a family for weeks or months, but there are a lot who can do something for a long time, can become family friends.

"The whole point is very early intervention, to have a family friend to be there before it gets out of hand.

"For far too long the churches have argued about women bishops and all these other issues, well, this gets us back to what we were called to do, to look after the poor, feed the hungry, give a home to the homeless."

The move would offer some hope to councils already struggling with record rises in the number of children going into care. …

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