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asphaleia Worthing Centre Open Day

November 15th, 2018

On Thursday, 1st November, asphaleia action and training hosted an open evening for prospective learners and their parents, carers, support workers, and professionals to visit our centre. We are really proud of the work we are doing at the moment and were really excited to discuss all of the services we offer, and the work they have been doing to support young people. In training , we were pleased to talk about our On Track, Make Trax, and ESOL provisions, show student work and take visitors around the centre.

Similarly, we promoted asphaleia actions SAFE project, a project that aims to reduce the risk of trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and young people in West Sussex. SAFE works alongside schools, colleges, children services, local authorities, youth services and other professional organisations to provide a service of helping vulnerable young people identify and address their needs, build on their self-confidence and skills, strengthen ‘safer’ social networks and signpost them to other support services if further needs are identified.

Our tutors were available throughout the evening alongside student volunteers to answer questions, hand out literature about our ventures and explain student displays. It was brilliant to have professionals, parents and carers alike showing their interest in asphaleia, where we hope to have something helpful for every young person. We will be hosting more open days throughout 2019, and hope to help many more young people throughout the coming year via our training and action ventures. We hope to see you at one soon.

If you, or anyone you know, could benefit from any of our services, call us on 01903 522966 for more information or an informal chat. Alternatively, you can email graciethorne@asphaleiavlc.co.uk with questions and queries.

SAFE Kent British Values Workshop

November 12th, 2018

One of the sessions the SAFE project delivers to newly arrived unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Kent is on British values. The session covers some of the values and norms, as well as laws which include responsibilities and rights.

The young people engaged well in discussions when comparing values and laws across the countries they were born in and in Europe. Some discussions covered politics and how the systems may differ, even when countries may both be ruled by a form of democracy. Young people are very aware that the Police in England are here to deal with crime, which is often very different in their home countries where there may be different groups or corruption that deals with crime.

We had some interesting conversations about respect, what this means and how this manifests in different ways in different countries. Some of the young people offered respect for their elders meant not looking them in the eye, whereas here it is seen as more respectful to look people in the eye. We also discussed diversity and tolerance as England has such a diverse population when it comes to nationalities, ethnicity, age, religion and sexual orientation. We also discussed how these play different roles in different countries- religion might be much more important in other countries, and diversity in sexual orientation or disability might be frowned upon or create difficult situations. The young people created some poster art after our discussions.

Interview with an Independent Visitor

November 12th, 2018

An Independent Visitor is an adult volunteer befriender for young people in care. All young people in care are entitled to this service from their local authority if it is deemed to be in their best interest. asphaleia are proud to provide the IV Service for London Borough of Bromley.

A still from the video created by the IV Network, ‘A Friend by Nature’

One of our most recent recruits is a guy called Seb. He was matched with his young person in June and has been consistently meeting his young person once a month and establishing a supportive friendship with him. They have gone out for dinner, been to the cinema, and visited a local historical attraction. Seb’s young person has said having a visitor is ‘excellent’ and he can ‘talk to him about any concerns [he] has’.

I asked Seb some questions about the role so far…

  1. How long have you been an IV now?

Nearly 6 months now.

  1. What’s been your favourite visit?

Going to London Dungeons.

  1. How did you find the induction training?

Very informative and helpful. I was provided with good resources that helped me plan interesting visits.

  1. What’s the best thing about being an IV?

Being able to have fun with someone new.

  1. Would you recommend it to other adults looking to volunteer?

Definitely would recommend it to anyone that enjoys working with children and wants to make a positive difference.

If you would like to enquire about being an IV, please email recruitment@asphaleia.co.uk.

asphaleia Open Day Thursday 1st November

October 24th, 2018

Our open day is for prospective learners and their parents, carers, support workers, and professionals to visit our centre. Our staff will be on hand to discuss all of the services we offer and show you around the centre, whilst our young people will tell you what they think of their learning at asphaleia.

Our open day is taking place on Thursday 1st November, 4pm-6:30pm at 22 Liverpool Gardens, Worthing. 

At our open day we will be presenting information about the organisation as well as specific information about asphaleia training and our charity, asphaleia action. You will have an opportunity to find out more about the qualifications we offer and other support we provide young people in West Sussex.

If you would like to book to attend please call us on 01903 522966, or email graciethorne@asphaleia.co.uk.

Sunny Sports and a Showcase for Training

September 21st, 2018

The young people who attended asphaleia’s training summer school this year made the most of the opportunity to learn in the sunshine, through a variety of sports, dance and drama activities.

The first half of our summer school began with some friendly competition on Worthing beach. Our ESOL learners participated in volleyball matches and tried their luck at mini-golf. They also helped to prepare a delicious picnic that they ate after the activities in sunny Victoria Park, before heading back to the training centre and working extremely hard on their Maths and English. In addition, our ESOL, English and refugee students undertook a collective three week project. They developed a fantastic show based around personal monologues, music and acting, whilst surrounded by a set and props they created, before performing the ensemble in front of an audience at Ivy Arch Dance Studios, Worthing.

The performance was influenced with the help of the Brighton Institute for Contemporary Theatre Training (BRICTT),  who went above and beyond to enhance the showcase. They taught our young people a dance routine, some interpretative dance, and allowed them to explore the ins and outs of the theatre, including trapdoors, backstage, and even underneath the stage! The professionals at BRICTT also supplied some information of theatre and dramatic arts around Sussex, helping to contextualise the visit.

Within the fun and creative activities our learners experienced this summer lay a wealth of skills that they can take forward to further learning, training or employment. These included learning communication skills – both verbal and non verbal – practising teamwork, confidence and dedication in order to pull the show together. As a result, the young people made great progress towards earning their Life and Living Qualification. A huge thank you to BRICTT for the amazing classes, and a massive well done to our young people who worked very hard over the summer; you should be very proud of yourselves!

 

Are you 16-24, looking for free advice, teaching and work experience? Interested in obtaining qualifications whilst having fun and making new friends? Get in touch to find out how asphaleia can help you start planning your future, today. Telephone: 01903 823546 Email: trainingreferrals@asphaleia.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Sexting – Why is it so Popular With Teenagers?

September 17th, 2018

Reuters Health most recent study suggests: ‘At least one in four teens are receiving sexually explicit texts and emails, and at least one in seven are sending sexts.’

At safe, West Sussex, we regularly receive referrals to our project for teenagers who have sent nude, or partially nude, images to someone they know, and sometimes even someone they have never met, via the internet. This is an increasing problem in secondary schools, but why is it that some teenagers feel that is ‘the norm’ to send these types of images?

Sexting – what is it?

Sexting is when someone shares sexual, naked or semi-naked images or videos of themselves or others, or sends sexually explicit messages.   These can be sent using mobiles, tablets, smart phones, laptops or any device that allows you to share media and messages.

Sexting may also be called:

  • trading nudes
  • dirties
  • pic for pic.

(Definition taken from NSPCC website)

Sexting – Why do it?

Sexting can be a healthy way for young people to explore sexuality and intimacy when it’s consensual.  After speaking to some of the teenagers safe are currently working with, some of the reasons they give for why teenagers do this are:

‘It’s a new thing, they want to try it out.’

‘It’s shown in films as being normal (e.g. romantic and comedy fims).’

‘It’s on Instagram and Snapchat, usually with year 9 or 10 pupils, so people think it’s ok to do it too.’

‘You might do it privately between your boyfriend or girlfriend.’

‘I think 95% of adults in their 20s and 30s do it, so why not?’

Sexting – What are the dangers?

The most obvious danger is that when these images are sent to someone you believe you can trust, they could send these on to anyone anywhere in the world.  Just because you are in a relationship with someone, it does not necessarily mean you are with them forever.  When relationships end, sometimes there are bad feelings and bitterness because of the break up, and these photos could be sent onto other friends, contacts online or schoolmates to try to embarrass the sender.  Don’t forget that the sender has no control over who else can see their image,  once it has been sent it to someone else, they can do whatever they like with that image.

These photos could also be used to blackmail the sender into sending other images.  When images are stored or shared online they become public. Some people may think that images and videos only last a few seconds on social media and then they’re deleted, but they can still be saved or copied by others. This means that photos or videos which a young person may have shared privately could still be end up being shared between adults they don’t know.

Young people may think ‘sexting’ is harmless, but it can leave them vulnerable to:

  • Blackmail  An offender may threaten to share the pictures with the child’s family and friends unless the child sends money or more images.
  • Bullying  If images are shared with their peers or in school, the child may be bullied.
  • Unwanted attention  Images posted online can attract the attention of sex offenders, who know how to search for, collect and modify images.
  • Emotional distress  Children can feel embarrassed and humiliated. If they’re very distressed this could lead to suicide or self-harm.

Sexting – The law

What the law says:

Sexting can be seen as harmless, but creating or sharing explicit images of a child is illegal, even if the person doing it is a child. A young person is breaking the law if they:

  • take an explicit photo or video of themselves or a friend
  • share an explicit image or video of a child, even if it’s shared between children of the same age
  • possess, download or store an explicit image or video of a child, even if the child gave their permission for it to be created.

However, as of January 2016 in England and Wales, if a young person is found creating or sharing images, the police can choose to record that a crime has been committed but that taking formal action isn’t in the public interest.

Crimes recorded this way are unlikely to appear on future records or checks, unless the young person has been involved in other similar activities which may indicate that they’re a risk.

If you are concerned about the images being shared by a young person you are working with, then safe, West Sussex can help.  We work with young people either on a one to one basis, or even in small groups to discuss online safety, the dangers of sexting and healthy relationships.  If you would like to make a referral, please contact either kayjones@asphaeia.co.uk or rubygarnham@asphaleia.co.uk or call asphaleia’s head office on 01903 522966 and ask to speak to Kay or Ruby.

     

Independent Visiting Service Hosts Fun Day!

August 23rd, 2018

During the heatwave in July that now feels like a distant memory, our Independent Visiting Service in Bromley hosted a fun day for all its current matches. Despite having to rearrange at the last minute due to England getting into the World Cup quarter final, the volunteers brought their young people to Crystal Palace Park where we had a picnic. It was great for our visitors and young people to meet each other and chat about what activities they have done together.

After the picnic we sent each pair into the maze to have a race! They were also given a quiz to complete together. The quiz asked mostly asked them questions about the historical feature that Crystal Palace Park is known for; the dinosaur sculptures. The persistence of all our young people was commendable as it was very hot!

The pair that got the most questions correct won a Costa gift card to spend at a future visit. We are looking forward to our next event gathering our volunteers and young people.

The Independent Visiting Service is a befriending service for young people in care with Bromley Local Authority. We recruit adult volunteers and match one to a young person and they will visit them once a month and take them out to do activities. It is part of our care venture. If you would like to find out more about volunteering please email recruitment@asphaleia.co.uk.

Confidence Workshop in the SAFE Kent Project

August 14th, 2018

On Monday the 6th of August, Gwen from the SAFE Kent project held a workshop on confidence. We discussed what confidence is, how it makes us feel and how it helps us in life. Lots of tips were shared on how to improve on confidence and the young people gained an understanding of how confidence differs in different situations based on our experiences and expectations.

When we had finished the learning part of the workshop we sat down to do some art on the theme of confidence. Some of the art work can be seen below. One of the young people drew himself and wrote ‘if there is a need there is a way’. We discussed adaptations of this saying in different languages, one of which is ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way. Another young person drew a bird of prey and wrote about ‘ flying above circumstances’. He spoke to me about how the bird represents him and his ability to overcome circumstances and not let them get in the way of what he wants to achieve in life.

Another young person drew himself at the bottom of mountains with a rocky road and a big sun at the top. He explained how the sun represents hope which he will always need and will get him through the mountains, which represent obstacles and challenges in life. He told me how important hope is in keeping his motivation going.

    

If you would like to make a referral to the SAFE project in Kent, please email referrals@asphaleia.co.uk.

asphaleia fostering Celebrates a GOOD Ofsted Grade

July 30th, 2018

asphaleia is delighted with the outcome of a recent Ofsted fostering inspection, in which we were judged to be GOOD.

asphaleia’s fostering team was inspected on 4th June 2018, and we are thrilled with the result! The Inspector reported that asphaleia’s ”Children make good progress from their starting points in long-term placements.” and that they are ”placed with committed carers who accept them into their wider families. They are particularly well supported and guided to overcome their often-complex personal and social difficulties”.

We are really proud of our dedicated and passionate team who work extremely hard to support our devoted foster carers to motivate our children to achieve their potential. We are delighted Ofsted recognised this, reporting that managers and staff have a strong commitment to the work and have a clear understanding of the needs of the children. A strength of the agency is that children have access to learning delivered by other projects within the organisation. Children have attended workshops based on staying safe and appropriate use of social media. One-to-one support is available to children at risk of child sexual exploitation or currently experiencing exploitation.

Foster carers work carefully with children, helping them to understand and reflect on their family history and cultural background and support them in maintaining their individual faiths. A young person said, ‘I felt at home from the moment I came here. The foster carers understand me, they speak my language, help me to keep my faith and cook food I enjoy. That means all is very good.’

We couldn’t be more pleased with this fantastic news and we can’t wait to recruit more foster carers so they can help young people to gain qualifications and achieve their potential. Since being awarded Good we have been really busy with a recruitment drive to increase our team of foster carers. We welcome new foster carers all year round, so contact us on 01903 823546 if you or any one you know would like to enquire about being a foster carer and we will arrange a time to visit you and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

An Interview with an Independent Visitor

July 25th, 2018

An Independent Visitor is a volunteer who is matched with a young person in care. They befriend the yp by taking them out to do fun activities once a month. The idea behind the role is that it provides a consistent, long-term, supportive relationship with a role model who is outside of the circle of professionals involved in the young person’s care plan. asphaleia care run the IV service for London Borough of Bromley and here is an interview with one of our visitors, Andrew, who has been volunteering with us since January.

  • How long have you been an IV now?

I was introduced to JO and his family on the 24th of Jan 2018, so about seven months.

  • What’s been your favourite visit?

There isn’t a particular visit I would classify as favourite, they’ve all been uniquely interesting from the very first one, where we watched Star wars: the last JEDI, followed by just the two of us playing soccer and showing off ball juggling skills at a leisure centre. The third visit was bowling for about two and half hours culminated with a meal of his choice at a nearby Nando’s. For the next visit, we went to Lambeth Palace, the official home of the archbishop of Canterbury, we toured the place and enjoyed ourselves at an event that had been organised by Ronald Macdonald house, a charity firm that supports relatives with terminally ill children in hospital then we played miniature golf.

  • How did you find the induction training?

The very coherent induction/ training curriculum of asphaleia complimented with staff like Jeni who have a unique ability to explain complex or difficult concepts in basic terms and the use of case scenarios made the entire process enjoyable and an opportunity to blend and share knowledge with experience independent visitors.

A still from the video made by the IV Network to promote the role. You can find the full video, ‘A Friend by Nature’, on Barnardos YouTube channel.

  • What’s the best thing about being an IV?

As a Business doctorate student, the role of IV is an opportunity to practically apply theoretical material learned in class in the sense that I have to evaluate the young person and his interests and decide what would make a good visit. I also take into consideration the experiences we are having and what I can teach him through them.

  • Would you recommend it to other adults looking to volunteer?

Yes, the visits are in themselves an opportunity to develop personally. The role not only places you in a leadership position to influence the young person, but also through reflecting upon what you’re helping the young person with (for example; increasing their self-confidence, helping them to deal with life’s changes and challenges, being healthy), it prompts you to reflect on your own lifestyle.

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please email recruitment@asphaleia.co.uk.