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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.

 

Celebrating Refugee Week in Kent

July 18th, 2018

In Kent Outreach sessions we have been celebrating Refugee Week and talking about life in the UK as a refugee. The young people told us what they like best about being in the UK. The overwhelming response was the right to education and freedom. These are things we often take for granted however our young people highlighted just how lucky we are. I for one feel incredibly lucky, not just to live in a country where we have freedom and access to healthcare and education, but also to spend my days working with brave and inspirational young people every day. They inspire me to appreciate the opportunities we are offered in the UK as well as make the most of every precious moment. It is a pleasure to be part of their lives so let’s say a big thank you to all the young people we work with for letting us be part of their journey to make a new home in the UK.

Referrals are being taken for Outreach support, for enquiries please email referrals@asphaleia.co.uk. This service provides one-to-one support for young asylum seekers and refugees, teaching them independent living and self care skills. The topics covered vary depending on the areas that the young person requires support with, thereby creating a package of outreach support that is tailored to meet individual targets and goals.

Future Aspirations for a Young Person in Care West Sussex

July 18th, 2018

Outreach workers in our Care venture have been encouraging our YP to focus on their futures and have been supporting them to apply for colleges in the south east of England. Outreach worker Layla supported a YP to enroll on a construction course at a local college. The YP was very anxious on arrival to the college as they had found attending a school setting previously was a difficult task for them. Layla advised the YP that college is different from school and is a more adult environment. The YP took part in a bricklaying workshop and learnt lots of new things such as how to lay a course of bricks, how to build a corner, what the meaning of ”Plumb or Plumb bob” was and where it had derived from. (The ”plumb” in ”plumb-bob” comes from the fact that such tools were originally made of lead (Latin: plumbum, French: plomb). In ancient history the Egyptians and Romans used a bob of lead on a piece of string to check if the buildings were vertical or in line. After the workshop-the YP said he enjoyed the day at college and was looking forward to starting in September and learning a trade for his future….and to earn some money.

asphaleia care provide support services to UASC in Kent and West Sussex.

asphaleia Organisational Day June 2018

July 18th, 2018

On Thursday 7th June we had our Organisational Day in Worthing. All asphaleia teams gathered at the Chatsworth Hotel for training, team development, and most importantly…the 2018 asphaleia awards!!

The day was incredibly enjoyable. There was plenty of learning, celebrations and laughs for everyone. Reminding ourselves of the highs and the lows, the challenges and the successes in 2017 and of course looking ahead to 2018 was truly inspiring. Re-affirming our values and mission – ‘to impact as many lives of children and young people who have experienced disadvantage as we can’ was a great reminder of why we work for such a meaningful cause.

We then moved on to some insightful workshops delivered by four of our asphaleia action specialists. These workshops covered some very prominent themes we are all coming into contact with more and more in some context through our work; Child Sexual Exploitation, Mental Health and Well-being, Prevent and County Lines. These were well-received by staff and left us wanting to learn more.

Getting to know the Leadership Team and hearing how their roles have developed into specialist areas was a great way to identify how they contribute to the wider organisation. We also got the chance to hear from three of our colleagues in our ‘chat show’, telling us their experiences of working at asphaleia and what goes on in their typical day. Listening to their stories was really encouraging and motivational.

Teams got together in their ventures to look at planning delivery and developments ahead. It’s always a good way to share ideas and planning together to see them through. We are already looking forward to see how these plans unfold!

Then it was time for the staff awards…….here are the pictures of all the winners from this year – WELL DONE TO EVERYONE !!!!

Dedication to Service Users went to Learning Support Assistant, Alan Olieff

Staff Award went to Centre Administrator, Toni Shortell

Dedication to the role went to Independent Visitor, Amy Burrell

Venture of the year went to asphaleia training

Staff member of the year went to Care Manager, Jodie Brown

Once again – a MASSIVE WELL DONE to everyone !!!!

Young People Celebrate Refugee Week 2018 Through Art

July 5th, 2018

To celebrate Refugee week (18th – 24th June) we teamed up with the Sussex Partnership Trust and ran a pop up art studio for our UASC students at our training centre. This was led by artist Sara Dare and Jo Squires, Mental Health Practitioner for CAMHS in West Sussex who is supporting our students around their mental health. We held two drop in’s for students throughout the day where they focused on ‘One Line Drawing’ and drew portraits of each other only using one line without taking their pencil off of the page; asphaleia staff also tried this and it was not easy! In addition to this young people drew using pencils and charcoal and teamed together to create a large floor piece, which was good fun. We provided the young people with photo frames so they could put their drawings up in their homes. Some drew pictures of themselves and others drew family members.

At our training centre in Worthing we offer ESOL courses to UASC students. To make a referral please contact our training team on 01903 823546.

   

   

asphaleia Marketing at Kent County Council Conference

July 5th, 2018

This week asphaleia attended a conference at Kent County Council where we were part of a marketing place for attendees. The conference was attended by professionals from other local authorities and the aim was for Kent County Council to share best practice by supporting Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children and how this has been managed over the years with large numbers of children entering Kent. The conference was attended by many professionals, some councils who we work with in other areas and also other organisations we have worked with who support young people such as the Refugee Council, KRAN, Kent Kindness Maidstone and the Red Cross. asphaleia was represented by Jodie Brown, the Care Manager, who shared information about our current services in Kent which include:

  • Our outreach service supporting young people in the community to learn and improve their independent living skills both at home and out in the community.
  • SAFE project working with young people who are supported to address any gaps in understanding around citizenship, respect for women, acceptable behaviour and attitude.
  • Palm Tree project providing therapeutic art work to young people to support them around mental health and well-being.

If you wish to make a referral to any of our services please contact us at referrals@asphaleia.co.uk.

 

Can Stress Ever be Useful? Our Young People on the Palm Tree Project Find Out!

July 5th, 2018

We’ve all felt it, those butterflies and the tight knot in our stomach. Stress can help us cope and take action when needed and give us motivation. However stress can also become too much. Too much of the negative kind can lead to us struggling to cope.
Stress was this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week in May. On the Palm Tree Project, young people discussed what makes them stressed and what helps them cope.

Understanding how stress can also be useful helps to see this as a more balanced issue in life and not just one of negativity. Finding out what makes us stressed and what relieves our stress can be even more useful. A tool that can help make sense of this is the stress container (also sometimes called a stress bucket) tool designed by the Mental Health Foundation of England. Have a look for yourself, and share with anyone who might find it useful!

The stress-relieving activities offered by young people below are listening to music, playing guitar or cricket, and talking to friends. Young people found these things help them either discuss things that make them stressed and feel better about them, or provide a distraction from these- which makes them feel better. Talking about what helps you cope even when you feel good can be very important. It helps you remember in times when you do really need them, even though they could be the simplest of things, they can make a big difference!

The Palm Tree Project works with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children under the care of Kent Social Services, aged between 13-18 years. The project uses mentoring, art and music sessions to support better mental health and well-being. Contact Gwen in Maidstone on 01622 690 857 or at gwenvanstappen@asphaleia.co.uk to find out more.

         

Health Assessment and Immunisation for our UASC Young People

June 26th, 2018

Refugees and Asylum seekers are amongst the most vulnerable groups in society. They represent a wide range of different cultures, languages and backgrounds. By definition, an asylum seeker or refugee is fleeing persecution and is seeking protection, however they will each have individual experience, some may be fleeing war or torture or sexual violence and have a wide range of physical and psychological needs.

Here at asphaleia we support them every day with all their basic needs: cooking, cleaning, registering them to school, GP, dentist, etc.

For example we assist each of them to have an initial health assessment for conditions as TB and other diseases and also their mental health.

The asylum seekers arriving in the UK usually have limited records of immunisation and frequently have not had any at all so once they have been registered with a GP we book them appointments to have three courses of immunisations.

All our young people are very nervous when they hear about vaccinations, but on the day, a nurse will explain which immunisations they will receive and answer any questions they may have.

They will receive their immunisations by injection, usually in the thigh or upper arm and the vaccines will protect against: hepatitis B, measles, polio, rubella, tetanus.

All the UASC clients are very relieved once they have finished the courses and often admit they were scared for nothing!

asphaleia care provides housing and outreach support services for UASC (unaccompanied asylum seeking children) in West Sussex, West London, Croydon and Kent.