Care Day 2018
Patricia speaking at today's Celebration Event.
I like that the Give & Take Scheme is flexible, that you get your lunch and buses paid for and get to go on activities. Kim, Clem and Fred the tutors are all dead on, they have a good sense of humour and they help me do my work at my own time. So far I have achieved my Essential skills English entry level 2, maths entry level 3 and ICT level 1.
Speaking at today's Celebration Event
Before the Give and Take Scheme I was expelled from school. I was annoyed that I wasn't getting the chance to finish my qualifications. When this happened I was doing nothing just walking about the streets bored, then I heard about Give and Take and thought it could work for me. My social worker Jenny Stewart referred me and I have liked it even since. All the staff are dead on and Deborah and Dominic have helped me. I loved going out on work placement to Dr Bs and now I am read to try somewhere else. For the first time I feel like I have made friends and really fit in. I enjoy the Scheme because I understand all the work and find it fun.
Speaking at today's Celebration Event.
Deborah, Dominic, Kim, Clem and Fred all work with me not against me. This support has helped me gain seven qualifications. I left school when I was 15 and didn't think I would have ever gain any qualifications. I would recommend the Give and Take Scheme to any young person because it's good craic, you get to go on residentials and do fun things, as well as gain your qualifications.
Tom* came onto Meant to Work through a programme funded by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, ‘Aiming for Success’. Tom has been involved in Include Youth’s Give and Take scheme after having major mental health difficulties, where he ended up in hospital for his own safety. Tom has said “I don’t want to sit about and do nothing anymore I want to develop myself”, so alongside his Monday-Wednesday programme the youth peer mentors have been meeting with him separately to look at his employability.
Tom had no previous employment or interview experience so looking at employment has been a new challenge for him and he has benefitted from the one to one support in order to explore what he wants for the future. To date Tom has had two job interviews and we can see his confidence and belief in his right to work growing. Tom is now motivated to continue to achieve his overall goal of part time employment.
Tom said “Meant to work has really helped my confidence and belief in attending interviews. I feel my confidence growing every interview and I know what to expect and how to behave. I hope it pays off one day”
Naomi is 20 years old and a participant on our Give & Take Scheme in Belfast. Here's her story...
My experience in foster was good at stages but also bad at times. The good things about foster care were meeting new families along your journey, who welcomed you with open arms. The bad things were that I was in care from a couple of weeks old, so I've been in 43 different foster homes and one residential care home.
There was one foster family who was really bad to me and my older sister. They had an adopted daughter also, they closed our toes in doors, poured kettle water over us when we were in the bath, they had a choice to lose their job or the adopted daughter went back into the care system.
In 2008 I went home to my mother for a while but she relapsed and went back to drinking, as she and my father were alcoholics. The reason me and my siblings ended up in the care system was my mother was an alcoholic from she was 15, when she met my father. There was a lot of domestic violence, my father done attempted murder on my mother, this went on for 12 years.
I ended up in a foster home with a family in Newtownards, I was with them six years. I'm still in contact with them, they are old now so they had to give up fostering. They were the best family placement I was in.
My young brother and sister are still in a foster care placement in Bangor, they are placed together. We see them every month for an hour. We all enjoy our time we spend together. We all have a tight bond. We all are very close with our mother but unfortunately me and my wee brother don't speak to our father as he is still an alcoholic. My mother has been off the drink for three years now, in the future she is going to fight to get my brother and sister back in her care.
I'm a young person from a care background. I am pleased that I've been through the life I have because it's made me who I am today. I want to go on in life and be a foster carer and give back to the system. I had a bad start in life but I'd love to give a young person the life they deserve.
Now that I am out of care, I have my own house, two dogs, I spend time with my mother, I keep in touch with my older sister and nieces. I'm happy with my life now.
Kerona* started Give & Take in summer 2016 and at the time was volunteering at a dog groomers. She took part in Give & Take on a one-to-one basis so that she could complete the employability and personal development aspects of the programme while still being able to volunteer a few days a week.
Kerona started to feel unhappy in her placement and although she still enjoyed dog grooming, decided to leave her placement. Give & Take staff identified another work placement for Kerona at the USPCA animal hospital in Newry three days a week. She settled in really well, liked the team and enjoyed the range of tasks she was given. After four weeks Kerona met with the Careers Service to make plans for her future and she agreed the best route to eventually running her own dog grooming salon was the Work It Programme.
Work It would provide her with 30 hours paid work every week for 11 months and help her gain the skills and knowledge in this area of work. They also would support her with work-based training and specialist training in dog grooming and animal care.
Kerona says that Give & Take gave her the confidence to explore a range of work experience options.
"At first I didn't think I would like the Animal Hospital as I wasn't interested in the veterinary side of things. I liked the care and grooming of animals, especially dogs. However after visiting the USPCA I instantly knew I would like to work there and it has broadened my horizons into other types of work, for example the rescuing and re-homing of animals, which I didn't really think I would enjoy," she said.
Kerona is still supported by Include Youth through transitional support and will avail of this service, in a phased out way, for up to 12 months as she moves on from Give & Take.
Jane* has been a part of Include Youth for three years, and has been through a range of programmes during this time. Jane faces a lot of barriers in gaining employment, from living a general chaotic lifestyle, drug and alcohol misuse, self- harming and lack of confidence and belonging, due to moving accommodations often and being in the care system.
Jane has been a part of numerous employability programmes and had managed to gain a casual hour contracted job, however she did not feel she was ready to sustain the role. At this moment Jane is currently completing community service from a range of events that have happened over the last few months.
The peer mentors from our Meant to Work programme meet with Jane each week for one to one sessions to discuss what is going on in her life, thinking of action plans and goal settings, sexual health advice and generally giving her that space to talk. In order to use this time with Jane well and keep within the employment aspect, the peer mentors will complete an OCN level 2 in vocational studies, will include a potential placement, arrange work tours and track Jane’s development over the next few months, to hopefully see a change in her motivation and self-confidence.
Helen* was referred to the Give & Take 1-2-1 when she was 16 years old by her social worker. She was always bright and bubbly however her social worker was concerned that she had left school with no formal qualifications and was not accessing any form of education, training or employment opportunities. She had also been deemed by the PSNI to be a significant risk of sexual exploitation.
There were many attempts to engage Helen in training but none were successful, due mainly to her low confidence and chaotic lifestyle, which included being 'missing' from the family home a lot. Her mum was unable to cope with the situation, so Helen was placed in the care system and is currently residing in a children's home.
Based on her needs, a programme was put in place to address personal development, training and work placement opportunities with her on a one-to-one basis. During her time on Give & Take 1-2-1 her engagement in the programme has suffered at times due to a range of issues and situations that arose in her life. However, overall her commitment and attendance to the programme has been very good and a vast improvement on previous experiences.
She has completed a work placement with a local animal sanctuary, has achieved her Essential Skills Level 3 in ICT, Level 2 in Numeracy and Literacy, Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award and a range of OCN Level 1 qualifications in personal development and employability. Helen now feels ready to move onto full time training and has just secured a place with a local training organisation to study an NVQ Level 2 in Beauty. Her social worker said:
"I have found Give & Take 1-2-1 (a specialist programme) to be an invaluable resource for Helen. She is a young person who had significant difficulties within the school setting and was deemed as a very significant risk of sexual exploitation. Give & Take 1-2-1 offered her a consistent positive relationship in respect of her education, which was flexible and responsive to her ever changing situation – I am not aware of any other programme which would have offered her that level of consistency, yet flexibility. Due to Helen having periods of being 'missing' she would have been asked to leave most other programmes.
"A very strong component of this programme was the 1-2-1 relationship which was offered to Helen through her youth worker, which led to her engaging in the direct education components of the programme – this person was pro-active with Helen and this is something which is very often not present in other programmes. It was this which was key to engaging Helen directly with the tutors. Helen is now coming to the end of her time on the programme. She is leaving with qualifications, which she would not have obtained without this programme, and has a positive move on to a full-time training programme in place. This programme has been a crucial part of Helen's positive progress and reduction in risk."
My name is Gary* and I started Give and Take Scheme in Newtownards in 2014. I am currently studying maths, English and ICT and also enjoy the work prep and Activate health & fitness programme. I am interested in pursuing a career in retail when I am older, but had no experience in this area.
As part of my Give & Take programme, I have started volunteering with the local Simon Community charity shop. This is great as it gives me some retail experience, but it is also in a quieter environment, which means the managers and other volunteers can help and support me. Some of the things I do include sorting donations, tidying and restocking shelves, and maintain the clothes section.
My placement is good because I live quite close to it, and the other volunteers are easy to get on with, and very supportive.