NEARLY half a million pounds is to be invested in a new support project in the city for children whose parents are alcohol dependent.

The city-wide project, which starts in January, will help give parents the confidence to ask for help and get the support they need to reduce their alcohol dependency.

Brighton and Hove is one of only nine areas in the country to have successfully bid for funding from Public Health England to support projects in this field. The chairwoman of the city’s health and wellbeing board, Councillor Karen Barford, said: “This project is about identifying issues in families early and giving the whole family the support they need.

“There can be all sorts of reasons why a parent may be drinking to a level that impacts on their children. Parents in this position are often concerned about coming forward in case they are penalised for their dependency in some way. We want to reassure parents and families that we will adopt a supportive, ‘no-blame’ culture.

“We want parents to feel safe and confident in seeking support.

“Our focus will be on helping children thrive by reducing parental conflict, improving parenting skills and helping parents address the root causes of their addiction. Part of this will involve what we call ‘mentalisation therapy’. This builds parents’ motivation to see the situation from their child’s perspective.

The council will be working with the NHS, Oasis Project and Sussex University.