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Archive for the ‘Care’ Category

Learning Set With Our Volunteer Independent Visitors in Bromley

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

On Saturday 18th of May, six of our Independent Visitors met together for a learning set with our IV Coordinator, Jeni. The purpose of these bi-annual gatherings is to enable peer support between our volunteers who otherwise do not interact as visits are one-to-one. Learning sets provide an opportunity for them to learn from one another and share suggestions for activities, for example.

We want our volunteers to experience a mutually beneficial time whilst they’re with us and as well as doing service-specific training and development, they are a part of our annual organisation day and our learning and development week.

Additionally, the learning set is an opportunity to discuss the requirements of the service and where we can develop as individuals and together to ensure every service user has the best experience they can. At the recent session we looked at how we can best utilize activity budgets and also looked at conversation skills.

It was a productive time with all volunteers contributing and positively engaging in discussion. We have a great team of Independent Visitors and as Volunteer Week approaches we are feeling grateful and proud of the time they give to our service users and the impact they are having.

Volunteer opportunity Bromley

We are currently recruiting more Independent Visitors. We need a diverse team of male and female volunteers who can be matched to young people. The role requires 3-5 hours of your time per month and visits take place once a month on the weekend. You need to be at least 21 years-old. Please email us for an application pack and more information about the role: recruitment@asphaleia.co.uk.

CSE Day 2019 – What is Exploitation and Does it Only Affect Children?

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Today is National CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day). The five key themes for this year’s day are:

1. Exploitation is about more than just CSE, think about criminal exploitation, county lines,
trafficking and modern slavery.
2. Families can be safeguarding partners.
3. The time to build relationships with children and families is crucial.
4. Exploitation and its impact doesn’t stop because you turn 18.
5. Communities can tackle exploitation.

All five are key for us to grasp as parents, friends, professionals, and community members so we can all play our part to stop CSE. Over to one of our SAFE project workers to explain themes 1 and 4…

Exploitation is about more than just CSE

Exploitation means an imbalance of power used to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person into sexual or criminal activity in exchange for something the victim needs or wants e.g. gifts or belonging.

When we think of exploitation our mind wanders to child sexual exploitation or ‘CSE’. Whilst this is still important to recognise, we must realise that exploitation is more than just CSE. We must consider criminal exploitation (county lines) in which young people are exploited to sell drugs, human trafficking and modern slavery. Look beneath the signs that the child is displaying

Exploitation doesn’t take place in isolation, sometimes a young person is forced into sexual activity over a drug debt or people could be trafficked around the UK, and beyond, for modern day slavery.

We need to ensure that we are approachable and consistent for the young people we work with – they will not want to talk to you if they don’t think you will be there for them. Offer a confidential and private space and believe everything they tell you.

CSE Awareness Day

Exploitation and its impact doesn’t stop because you turn 18

Whilst we refer to ‘child’ sexual exploitation throughout this blog post we recognise that exploitation does not stop when adulthood is reached at 18, in fact quite the opposite.

Reports have shown that reaching 18 can make a person more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, often services will withdraw and there is less help and support out there. For many people it is a frustrating time as they may have had extensive and intensive support throughout childhood only to find out that this will not continue beyond their 18th birthday. We refer to this as the cliff edge of support – one day it’s there and the next it’s all gone.

It is vitally important to improve transition services and to offer the young people we work with alternative forms of support. That’s why, on Safe, we work with young people up to the age of 25. We know that vulnerabilities don’t fix themselves over night.

To find out more information about your local Safe project please call 01903 522966.

asphaleia action charityasphaleia care services

 

New CSE Project in the London Borough of Bromley

Monday, February 25th, 2019

asphaleia recently started a new CSE project in the London Borough of Bromley. The project will support young people who are being exploited; or are at risk of being exploited. In addition, the service will offer training for professionals around supporting young people who are experiencing or are at risk of CSE.

Overview of Support

We provide holistic interventions based around the specific needs of the young person. Identifying and addressing risky behaviours, in addition to acknowledging and supporting protective factors. An initial assessment will identify areas of support needed and a plan will be created with the young person’s input and agreement. Safety planning will also be included in the plan to support and reinforce their existing safety plan. Another component of the service will be for us to remain in contact with the referrer, providing updates and monitoring reports.

Finally, these are the outcomes we will be working towards:

  • Enhanced parent/carer relationship.
  • Knowledge of sexual health strategies.
  • Reduced safer consumption of substances/alcohol.
  • Ability to identify abusive/exploitative behavior and has strategies in place.
  • Recovery from sexual abuse/exploitation.
  • Reduced association with risky peers/adults.
  • Remains in regular contact with the service.
  • Stable and secure accommodation.
  • Episodes of missing from care/home reduced.
  • Satisfactory school/college attendance.

For further information, please call 01903 823946.

asphaleia care services

4 Reasons Why Differences Are Good

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Equality and diversity is a phrase most of us will be familiar with. It is the subject of policies, training, HR documents and forms for us employees. For our young people, it informs one of our intentions within asphaleia’s Pledge to Young People.

equality and diversity young people

Pledge Number 1

According to WikipediaEquality and diversity is a term used in the United Kingdom to define and champion equalitydiversity and human rights as defining values of society. It promotes equality of opportunity for all, giving every individual the chance to achieve their potential, free from prejudice and discrimination.

At asphaleia, this is an integral value that shapes how we operate as an organisation regarding our staff, volunteers and the young people we work with. We are BIG believers in the potential of ALL young people and we aim to ensure we are offering the best of all we have to offer to every young person that walks through our door.

E&D isn’t just something we are obligated to do because of legislation. We believe in the importance of ensuring everyone has the opportunity to progress in life, but furthermore, that differences enrich and enhance our society and personal experiences.

Here are 4 reasons why differences are good:

You learn new things about the world – to put it bluntly, if we were all the same, life would be incredibly dull. What would we talk about? What would we learn? I have learned some absolutely fascinating things from friends or colleagues who are from another country, or in a completely different line of work to me, or who are much older or younger. From languages and culture to simply your outlook on life, the people around you will believe different things for different reasons. Learn from them!

They help you develop – when we are curious about others we have the opportunity to discover new ways of doing things. Better ways. We can also open the door to different paths we didn’t know were there. As Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said: ‘Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”

Stength lies in differences not in similarities

They keep you humble and open – we like to think we know best. The phrase, ‘my way or the highway’ springs to mind for many of us when faced with people who do things differently. Refusing to adapt and change keeps us in the same place and we can make many assumptions about people that are simply wrong.

You learn empathy – an important skill for connecting with people and maintaining relationships. Both personally and in the workplace. To work or learn alongside someone who is different to you, requires you to see things from their perspective. To withhold judgement and listen is at the heart of empathy and is a skill that will allow you to work well in a team or partnership.

Whilst it’s great to celebrate our similarities, let’s look for ways to appreciate the differences of those around us or new people who cross our paths.

asphaleia care services

 

Independent Visiting Service: Bowling is Right Up Our Alley!

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

At the end of January, our IV Service hosted one of their bi-annual group activities. The service provides one-to-one befriending for looked after children and young people in Bromley. However, we like to gather everyone together twice a year for one big activity. As January isn’t a time for enjoying the great outdoors, we opted for bowling.

Bowling activity young people independent visiting

We were pleased to have seven of our matches attend. Competitive spirits were running high as young people attempted to out-bowl their IV’s who certainly weren’t going to let them win! After the game, we all gathered around a large table and enjoyed general chit-chat over snacks and drinks.

It was inspiring to see our IV’s with their young people. Their relationships have blossomed and it is clear the young people have a lot of fun and good times with their visitors. It was also positive for our volunteers to connect with one another.

One visitor said: “S said he really enjoyed bowling and was pleased he won! He would like to go again.” Another reported that: “My young person thoroughly enjoyed bowling. He engaged with other young people throughout his time there and always had a smile on his face.”

The IV team are looking forward to the next group activity in the summer.

If you would like to find out more about this service please call our head office. If you would like to apply to become an Independent Visitor, please email recruitment@asphaleia.co.uk.

asphaleia care services

Happy Memories of Christmas at asphaleia care’s Reception House

Friday, January 18th, 2019

The Christmas Holidays can be a very difficult, sad and lonely time for many people. Some of our UASC young people at our reception house in Worthing have had to endure much sadness and trauma in their lives at such an early age, and are missing their own families.

For Christmas 2018, we planned two treats for our young people in our reception house. On Christmas day itself we had arranged for the young people to attend a christmas party celebration in Brighton through the Refugee Council at the Global Centre. The young people who went came back reporting that they had a really good time and made new friendships with other young people from their countries.

On boxing day, Theresa cooked a fantastic traditional Christmas meal. The young people all got involved with food preparations, some had never seen a brussel sprout before and one young person made the stuffing balls to go with the meal. Theresa reported that he found this highly amusing and was laughing all the way through.

The aroma coming from the kitchen was delightful, Theresa remarked how lovely it was to see all the young people  helping, some helped by stirring the gravy others by cutting veg.

“When is dinner ready?” They would keep asking… One wanted to begin carving the turkey before it even got to the table. This made Theresa think of her own childhood Christmas dinners and she felt proud to be part of building a good memory for what, for some of these young people, was their very first Christmas experience in the UK.

We served a dinner of roast turkey, parsnips, peas, carrots, roast potatoes and, of course, sprouts. which reluctantly were tried but not enjoyed. They were left on the side of the plate!

The table was dressed in a special way for this occasion. There was much laughter and conversation. We pulled crackers and wore silly hats and laughed at the cracker jokes. Theresa explained what the ‘Pulling of the Wishbone ‘ was  and pulled it with the young person who made a wish. Apparently some of them said they also do this at home.

For another young person it was said how determined he was to use the cutlery, he explained that in his village they only ever ate by using their hands, his big beaming smile showed how happy he was. Theresa was touched to hear this and said what a wonderful achievement this must be for him to sit round a table like this with others as he usually eats alone.

The meal ended with ice cream and mince pies. All the young people thanked Theresa for the lovely meal and they all took their part in washing and drying the dishes. The laughter and cheer continued well into the evening.

One of the young people asked: “Please can we do this again?”

To find out more about our care accommodation services please email referrals@asphaleia.co.uk.

Independent Visitors Attend Learning Set

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Last Saturday evening our Independent Visiting Service hosted a learning set for its volunteers. Our Independent Visitors are each matched with a young person in care and they take them out once a month to do a fun activity. They are volunteer befrienders who give up their time in order to provide an additional supportive adult in the lives of these young people.

At asphaleia we intend to invest in our volunteers and their development and also provide opportunities for them to engage in peer support. We run two learning sets per year to enable this to take place.

Over some tasty nibbles we discussed the volunteers’ favourite visits so far. We revisited equality and diversity, discussing the different cultures we can find ourselves in and our experiences of feeling like we fit in, or not. We discussed how this might impact our volunteers and their interactions with their young people. We looked at ways in which we can ensure they are promoting equality and diversity both in their activity choices and attitudes/words.

Image source: Pixabay.com

One volunteer made a helpful point: ‘I think if you are aware of your own perspective and background, it can help you recognise and understand any judgmental reactions that you have in the moment.’

We were pleased to have Laura, asphaleia’s SAFE project worker in West London, come to present to us about Child Sexual Exploitation. Laura took our volunteers through signs that a young person might be being exploited and the stages of the grooming process.

The volunteers who attended engaged and contributed brilliantly and asphaleia care are incredibly grateful for all their work and their positive impact on our young people.

If you would like to volunteer for our Independent Visiting Service in Bromley, London, please email recruitment@asphaleia.co.uk.

Returning Staff Member

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Carol Ann is back!

I began working for asphaleia in Uxbridge back in 2006. I became the 5th member of a very new outreach service delivery support to unaccompanied minors. It was all very new to me at the time. I had come from a care support background working with the elderly and adults with LD and had little to no experience or understanding of the asylum process. I learned loads in those two years, not just about the job but also about myself. I soon found I was able to identify and empathise with the YP purely because of my own life’s journey.

Those first two years prepared me for the next role with asphaleia, which took me to Worthing, From 2008  to 2012 I became a full time live-in house parent. This was probably one of my favourite jobs of all time.

To this day I sometimes bump into some of those YP I had supported and lived with. To see them grown up and some with children of their own gives me a sense of purpose. I feel the satisfaction of being a small part of the development and nurturing of such young vulnerable people cannot be measured. So when people ask me why asphaleia, I can only think back to the great times I had working with these YP and can honestly say, this is why.

My new role as service coordinator for the reception service brings me back to working in the same house I once worked and lived in for many years. But the role is very different now. I currently am split between the reception service and the outreach support service for the semi-independent accommodations.

Welcome back, Carol Ann!

What my day-to-day looks like 

My day is often very busy as the window of opportunity to prepare these YP for their next steps on their  journey is only around six weeks within the reception service. In comparison to my days as a house parent this is very different. It is a fast-paced with all the same appointments to attend such as solicitors,  home office, social service meetings, medical and education but with such a small window of time to work with the YP makes the experience much more intense. Although the service may seem appointment driven the YP’s development to independence is equally a high priority for me. The YP leaving the reception service will be going on to some form of semi or independent accommodation. Therefore it is important to ensure they leave with some life skills.

Prior to returning to asphaleia I was working with vulnerable adults and YP with the West Sussex Homelessness Prevention Partnership service. In this role I gained knowledge and experience enabling vulnerable people maintain their tenancies and avoid homelessness. I am grateful for the years experience I gained within that role and can see how this can be beneficial supporting the YP at asphaleia as they move into independent living.

To find out more about asphaleia care’s services in Sussex, West London and Kent, please visit our website or call 01903 522966.

Anti-Bullying Week

Monday, November 19th, 2018

National Anti-Bullying Week– 12th-16th November 2018

What is bullying?

“There is no legal definition of bullying. But it is usually defined as repeated behaviour which is intended to hurt someone either emotionally or physically, and is often aimed at certain people because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation or any other aspect such as appearance or disability.” For more information, please visit: www.bullying.co.uk

Over the week and across the different locations of Worthing, Kent, London and Bognor Regis, staff and young people have been participating in different activities and discussions for anti-bullying week.

Odd Socks

In order to raise awareness, asphaleia joined many organisations nationwide who wore odd socks on Monday 12th November. Our creative and colourful effort was rewarded with Bullying UK tweeting us to let us know how great our feet looked!

 

Choose Respect

The theme this year for Anti-Bullying week was ‘Choose Respect’. In the 1:1 mentoring sessions and lessons staff have been talking to young people about what respect means to them and what they consider to be respectful. One of our staff members remarked:

Respect was a huge part of today’s topic and the statement that I encouraged them to take away from today was ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ We’ve also talked a lot about posting only positive things online; staying away from any kind of spread of negativity and respecting people’s differences in that we all feel different things and different things will trigger us.” (Ruby, asphaleia action)

Furthermore, in our 1:1 sessions in care and SAFE WL, young people commented that:

  • I feel respected when”People listen to me, when people treat me the same”
  • Showing respect to people is important because… “It shows that you care, so that their feelings do not get hurt”
  • I demonstrate respect for myself when I…”show that I am proud ofwhat I have achieved.”
  • I wish people were more respected becauseSome people are affected more ways than others”.

Wall of Kindness

To spread kindness, asphaleia training created a Wall of Kindness to encourage positive words being shared amongst staff and young people. These are just ‘snapshots’ of some of the things we got up to this week, where staff and young people both learnt a lot and had fun at the same time.

 

For more information and pictures,  you can follow us on our social media, @asphaleiainsta, @asphtraining or ‘like’ us on Facebook as asphaleia. Alternatively, for more information on our ventures, please call 01903 522966.

Interview with an Independent Visitor

Monday, 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.