What do young people say makes a great local offer? What do leaving care practitioners and managers say? What will make the most difference?
Over the last year, we’ve talked to the Young People’s Benchmarking Forum and leaving care professionals to agree the Top 10 Asks for the Local Offer. Alongside that we asked for examples of offers where this was working well.
So here we go… Our Top 10 Asks & Examples of how to put these these into practice:
1. Travel – Support with the costs of getting around for appointments, work and to stay connected with friends and family.
2. Digital Connection – Access to WiFi and sufficient Data is now critical for nearly every aspect of life including connecting with health services, applying for jobs and staying connected with friends and family.
Example Offers: Free WiFi up to 25, Talk Talk’s offer for those on Universal Credit, Greater Manchester’s Free WiFi for a year & access to Digital devices offer
3. Mental Health & Wellbeing – Getting timely access to mental health services which are care experience aware is a huge challenge. Poor mental health is a significant barrier to our other ambitions for care experienced young people including education, employment and building a strong support network.
Example Offers: Specialist Mental health professionals within the leaving care team Eg. Newham, Commissioned support from charity partners like Pure Insight, Access to the Rees Foundation’s Ask Jan service. Mental health first aid training for PAs
4. Leisure – Support to do those extra things that make such a difference, which care experienced young people are often unable to afford to do themselves.
5. Specific Group of care leavers: Care Experienced Parents, Unaccompanied asylum seekers, Young People with additional Needs, LGBTQ+ Community, Young people involved with criminal justice system – Care experienced young people told us they benefited from dedicated offers that took their experiences into account.
Example offers for Young Parents – Warwickshire Baby Box & Parent Support Group, Family Days Out
Example offers for unaccompanied asylum seeking young people – Dedicated education/employment support; Football & Allotment projects
Example offers for young people with additional needs – Neurodiversity assessments
6. Housing Support – Finding a home, setting it up and managing the demands of household bills is a challenge care experienced young people are often expected to embark on, far earlier than their peers.
Example offers: Handyman Hours provided by the Housing team, Rent Guarantor Schemes, Fuel vouchers
7. Health Support – Prescriptions, Dental, Optical – As well as mental health support (which came in at number 3), care experienced young people told us specific offers that helped them manage their health made a big difference.
8. EET Support – Practical support is helpful in addressing some of the barriers to education, training and employment.
Example offers: Travel passes, Higher Education accommodation funded, digital devices, Work wardrobe & support financial support while waiting for first paycheck, Support with interview and work wardrobe from Smartworks & Suited and Booted
9. Post 25 Support – Having an open door to contact and seek advice from the leaving care team after statutory support ends at the age of 25 can alleviate some of the anxiety about this ‘cliff edge’ and better reflects the model of being a good parent.
Example Offers: Always There – North Yorkshire.
10. Accessing Records – Accessing care records can be an important part of a young person understanding and processing their story, but there needs to be support available throughout this process.
Example Offers: Rees Foundation – Access to Records
Young People and professionals told us it was important that the local offer was accessible to young people who lived outside of the local authority area.
A huge thank you to everyone who took part and shared their views. Local authority members of NLCBF have access to the Local Offer Toolkit, developed by the forum and opportunities to share best practice at our regular events. Find out more about membership Here.
Specific elements of each Local Authority’s offer can be compared on the Local Offer Website.
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