MINISTERS have handed Swindon Borough Council more than half a million pounds to help get alcoholic parents into rehab.

Public health officers at the borough have been given a £577,400 grant by the government to support children of alcoholics. A new post will be created for a rehab worker, who will offer counselling and specialist trauma support for adults battling alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

Coun Cathy Martyn, cabinet member for public health, said: “I am absolutely delighted the government has recognised the value of our programme which aims to provide support to those children who are dealing with the fallout of alcohol misuse on a daily basis.

“We want to provide support to those vulnerable children, but also engage with parents to ensure they receive the help they need to overcome their own problems with alcohol.”

Currently, it is estimated there are more than 400 alcoholic parents in Swindon, with 765 children.

Coun Martyn admitted the borough needed to do better: “We know that we are not reaching all of those parents and children and this project will focus resources where it is most needed to support parents to address their dependency and the impact their drinking has on their children.”

Swindon Borough Council’s scheme is one of nine council-backed projects to be given a slice of a £4.5 million pot by government. Duncan Selbie of Public Health England, which is managing the programme, said the projects would provide new ways to identify vulnerable children.