The pandemic has turned the lives of millions of children and young people upside down. It's also changed what kind of activities are safe to continue. From September 2020 we're pausing many of our existing programmes, including this one, and refocusing our Luton work on where we can make the most difference to those who need our help.
Helping young people in care has been part of our work in Luton for more than twenty years. Our art programmes have given a voice to young people in care that's been exhibited at national festivals and in the atriums of multinational companies in the City of London. Our programmes are fun and non-stigmatising. Our team is driven by a determination to give young people in care the very best care and support, and to provide valuable extra options and programmes for those working in the statutory sector with looked after children.
Voices of Luton young people in care
We offer one-to-one mentoring for young people aged 11-18 in care. The long-term support of an experienced youth worker mentor can be a huge benefit to young people in care. For young people who are moved through a number of placements, it can be a stabilising and consistent place for support. For others, it's a chance to talk about the experience of being care or simply the ups and downs of adolescence.
All mentoring is delivered in schools by our staff members or specifically trained volunteers who are supervised by a member of the Youthscape team. Whilst our team is trained to deliver mentoring and not counselling, if we are concerned a young person is in need of specialised help we will support you in the process of referring onwards.
Costs are £10 per mentoring session and an initial programme runs for eight weeks. Youthscape staff and team will provide all activities and equipment they will need. We track progress throughout the sessions using a mixture or observation and scaling with the students. At the end of each term, schools receive a progress summary.
Referral's can be made by school pastoral staff, and also by other professionals working with the young person.
Group programme - resilience
This is a course for looked after young people who would benefit from building their resilience to deal with some of the issues they are facing. Resilience is about the ability to ‘bounce back’. It involves doing well against the odds, coping, and recovering from setbacks and challenges. It's a vital skill for young people, especially those in care. The course curriculum teaches young people how to identify and manage emotions, coping strategies, building confidence and self-worth, developing positive relationships, goal setting, and communication skills.
Our Group Work is similar in content and approach to our Mentoring programmes, but catered to a group of students. This broader context offers different options for activities compared to one-to-one work, and also allows students to gain insights and support from their peers.
Groups last up to an hour during the schools day, usually in place of a lesson. The programme lasts for eight weeks, together with a one-to-one introductory session with each student. School staff are responsible for co-ordinating a student's timetable and permission to be absent from lessons. The cost is £40 per student.
All that is required from the school is a suitable room, for referral forms to be returned ahead of the introductory sessions and schools to organise getting the students to the sessions on time. The cost of a group programme is £40 per student.
Annual Weekend Residential - Loud and Clear
Loud and Clear is our annual weekend summer residential for looked after children aged 11 to 16. The next weekend will take place in 2020.
This weekend residential provides young people in care with the opportunity to take a break from normal day-to-day life, as well as a chance to make new friends and take part in new experiences. It includes outdoor activities, like the leap of faith and zip-line, creative activities and plenty of opportunities to have a fun packed weekend, make some amazing memories and make new friends.
Places are provided free of charge and schools, social workers, other professionals and foster carers are able to make a referral.
We offer support for young people aged 16 to 18 who may be leaving care or a placement in the near future.
'Get Independent' takes place over three weekend residentials in the Spring and is focused on equipping young people with both the practical and emotional skills they will need as they make this significant transition from care. It also helps them build confidence and excitement about the future.
The programme is suitable for young people whether they are leaving a foster placement or a children's home - and whether they are moving on to independent living or university accommodation.
Then three weekends help build a strong bond between the group and often provides valuable peer group support long after the programme has concluded.
The curriculum explores self esteem, emotional wellbeing, resilience as well as more prasctical subjects like first aid, cooking, budgeting, developing a CV and interview techniques.
Getting advice and making a referral
If you have any further questions about our work with looked after young people, please contact our Vulnerable Youth Specialist, Vicki Miller. To make a referral, complete a referral form for the young person.