CiCC regularly attends important meetings based around improving services for looked after children. Below are extracts from previous newsletters and meeting minutes that display CiCC’s goals and previous activities. There is also the Goals section available, which provides more up to date information on CiCC’s current goals.
‘CiCC has been working towards changing the mental health services offered to young people, as they find it very important that they’re available for those that require the help. There will be a few chances to get your opinions and voices heard in the coming months.’
Fast Feet Forward programme
‘Recent research from Kent has shown that a physical activity that involves ladder based feet exercises has shown that it helps with dealing with your “hot spots”, or “triggers”, whichever term you prefer. This means that there will be people training as coaches for this in order to implement it. Trauma can be difficult to deal with at the best of times and if you feel you suffer from trauma or you can’t deal with your triggers, you can contact your social worker (or PA), or any other support network you may have.’
CiCC at Victorious – update from Elliot
On Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th of August 2018, CiCC members assisted the fostering team with their stall at Victorious. There was a high-energy atmosphere, with the number of people attending the event gradually growing as the day progressed. On the Saturday, I represented CiCC, and on Sunday, that role was taken up by Joe. The intention of the stall was to raise awareness around fostering, as well as an upcoming event that will allow attendees to discuss fostering.
Joe seemed rather happy with the outcome of the event, stating: “The day was good because there was free chocolate and people came to the stall. There was a lady whose husband is in the Navy and I talked to her about fostering.”
Overall, the event was a fantastic opportunity to get involved and discuss fostering options for those interested. I particularly enjoyed working with various people from the social care department outside of office, as well as the chance to be involved again in a recruitment event.
On the 30th of August 2018, Portsmouth CiCC, Hampshire Police Cadets, Southampton care leavers and a couple of young people from the Youth Parliament went paint balling. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds. Many shots were fired, but that didn’t stop anyone from trying to get the win.
Joe, one of the participants, was kind enough to give a comment, saying, “Going paintballing was a fantastic time and I learnt that working with people you don’t get along with can be challenging, but rewarding.” As a young care leaver himself, it was good to see him joining in with the day’s activities, alongside those that he hadn’t met before across the south coast.
The event itself was constructed of eight activities, with the finale being an all-out shoot off that allowed the young people to use the last of their ammo. Everyone that got involved in this loved the chance to cause havoc amongst their peers. Overall, it was an action-packed day that involved much running, aim and taking one for the team.
CiCC Social Worker Training – update from Elliot
On the 3rd of September 2018, I attended part of a social work training day alongside another care leaver, Joe. We got the opportunity to speak a bit about our care experience, as well as what makes a good social worker. It was the first time that I had come along to this, but Joe had been on a number of occasions. Joe seemed to also have enjoyed getting involved, as he had asked about any other upcoming training that he could go to.
Most of our views on what makes a good social worker were similar, as after a while you start picking out the positive traits, as well as the bad. “I enjoy helping in their training, as I can help at least a bit in making a difference”, said Joe afterwards. I think that getting care leavers involved in training would be fantastic to see happen, as getting the young peoples’ views and opinions included be great for improving participation and maybe even change perspectives.
Flying Solo Great South Run
On Sunday the 21st of October 2018, Foster Portsmouth and Flying Solo attended the Great South Run in order to help raise money for Flying Solo. It was a fairly warm day, with thousands of other people attending the event. Those running on the day were in their running gear, waiting with anticipation to begin. Joe, Elliot and Adam who were representing Flying Solo got ready for the run. They all finished at 2 hours and 25 minutes, as the heat proved difficult to deal with. Please see below the pics they took at each mile mark.
It was great attending the event, those standing on the side-lines cheered the runners as they went past. Those running also walked away with a Great South Run t-shirt and a medal. Flying Solo hopes to run again next year, which means a lot of training between then to get a better time!
On Sunday the 11th of November 2018, there was a remembrance for those that had given their lives for our freedom during the war. Two of our CiCC members, Joe, as well as another member, Rose, attended this and both together laid a wreath. Joe spoke highly of the event, saying that he had been proud to attend. “It was good and nerve wracking, there was a lot of responsibility when it came to laying the wreath because it had so much meaning”, he informed me. “Before laying the wreath, I got the chance to speak to a number of people before going to lay the wreath.”
Social Work Lecture
In November 2018 CiCC gave a lecture to University students that were studying social work, here is a quote from the young person that helped deliver it:
“I enjoyed the opportunity to assist with the lecture, as it allowed me to give some insight to those that were training based on my own experiences. I enjoyed answering questions, as well as giving information based on other young people’s views. It was also a good opportunity as it meant I could get involved in the training of upcoming social workers, as I haven’t done much around this before. I would recommend this to other care leavers, although you do need some confidence in order to help deliver the presentation, as well as knowledge around the questions attendees ask.”
Corporate Parenting Board presentation for the Care Leavers’ Covenant
In late November 2018, the Children in Care Council presented the care leavers’ covenant to the corporate parenting board as felt that the covenant offered a lot to care leavers in regard to work opportunities. Those watching asked key questions about the covenant and showed interest in the new project. During the presentation we gave details around the app that young people could access, as well as those that had already signed up with the project in order to give work opportunities/ training. CiCC had asked for a few things around support that senior management seemed happy to provide.
APPG on Rights to Citizenship
On Wednesday the 28th of November, we attended an all-party parliamentary group where the rights to citizenship for unaccompanied minors and looked after children was discussed. This was mostly about unaccompanied minors and the issues around getting leave to remain; one of the key issues seemed to be the “Good character” system, as it has caused some young people to fail gaining leave to remain. Other topics were discussed around this, but the main discussion was about how this issue could be resolved, which would include disputing the “Good character” system.
One thing that was prominent to me was the case study on a young person who had been denied leave to remain due to them getting involved in a school fight- it’s preposterous to think that someone should get denied the right to become a British citizen based on something so petty- another young person was denied because they had received a caution. This highlights some of the key difficulties that these young people may face when seeking citizenship- these barriers cause anxiety for those applying due to the lack of clarity.
Another issue raised was the cost to apply for citizenship and how that can deter people from applying, as the price is rather sizeable and causes issue. Overall, the APPG gave me good insight on the issues that some unaccompanied minors may face and the general picture of difficulties associated with them.
Regional SHIP Meeting
On Monday, December 3rd, a meeting took place between the participation officers from the Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth local authorities, alongside the lead for the police commissioning group. This was to discuss what each Children in Care Council had been doing, as well as the youth commissions’ annual plan, which focuses on key topics such as mental health. There was also news of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s CiCCs working with their respective virtual school teams in order to produce a video resource to better the understanding of schools in regard to how it is to be looked after. This was an overall positive meeting and altogether will be useful when working regionally, due to the various levels of knowledge and experience amongst those attending.