Sixteen year-old Abbie* has lived in one of our care homes for around 18 months. In her home she says she knows she belongs. The team who look after her are her family and she feels “that they genuinely care for and love me”.
They encourage, support and help me to be the person I want to be. My achievements are recognised and celebrated, as a family would do. I was supported to feel able to sit my GCSEs and have since gained a place at college. I am achieving distinctions in my Health and Social Care Level 2 course.
Young people in care like Abbie have played a key role in developing the concepts for our new 21st century children’s homes in Hampshire. The new houses will be home to children that, for a variety of issues, are unable to live with their birth families.
We’re looking for enthusiastic practitioners to provide stability and support for up to four young people living in these homes.
Abbie’s view is that any adult working in a home should be ready to persevere and stick with it. “It is upsetting for young people when they invest in forming relationships with them and the adults then leave,” she said
To be a good carer, you need to be understanding, consistent, and have a good sense of humour. These are all important to help show others how they can grow and develop and learn new skills.
Each property will be home to four young people and the staff that care for them. Jo, a manager at one of the current homes, gives an insight into what her work is like:
“As soon as I stepped through the door it felt like home and was a place I really wanted to work. No day is the same for me. As a manager I have an open door policy, and staff will often poke their heads in for a quick, informal chat, or to run something by me.
“Staff team members get involved with activities that our young people are doing. My job as a manager, typically, is to oversee that from a strategy point of view. However, I can’t help but get involved too, most of the time. The reason I came into the job is because I love working with young people.
“Within the home, I have four young people, and it’s absolutely fantastic. I know what they like; I know what they don’t like. I can tell by their face what mood they’re in. We work together to help these young people to experience the whole wide world that’s out there.”
Team Supervisor Luke* commented:
“My role as a Team Supervisor is one that I really enjoy and is extremely wide and varied as are the young people and team that I work alongside. The role offers for the right people chances to make a difference for themselves and others.
“I challenge myself each day to be the best practitioner I can be. By role modelling a positive ‘can do’ attitude I seek to influence those around me to believe they too can be the best. I take great pride in being able to celebrate each success a young person enjoys.
“Our ultimate aim is to enable our young people to have equality of opportunity, not to be stigmatised because they are looked after. We encourage the young people to take an active and positive role in their wider community, to feel a sense of belonging and know they are part of the county in which they live and that their contribution counts.
“The individual qualities I believe are needed to work in this environment are positivity, commitment, dedication and self awareness, alongside adaptability and flexibility.”
Designed by the County Council’s in-house Property Services teams, plans for the new properties have taken into account features that children said would be important to them in a family home, such as having the entrance door at the front of the house.
They are smaller than the former children’s homes that were too large, lacking a homely environment or were no longer up to standard.
The new properties are near to good transport links, within walking distance of schools and make access to leisure activities easier, enabling young people to develop their independence safely. They will also reduce the need to send children to out of county placements which can be miles away.
If you think you would be interested in being a part of one of our Residential Care Teams, please contact Susan Lomax (01256 405989) or Maria Calway-Kennedy (07734 472425). To apply, go to: Residential care careers website
*Names have been changed and photograph is posed by model
Social work opportunities in Hampshire
Hampshire County Council offers a wide range of social worker opportunities across the county.
As a social worker for Hampshire County Council, you could find yourself at the forefront of revolutionising children’s social care and taking your best next step in your career.
We have one of the highest performing Children’s Services Departments in the country - one that is consistently judged by Ofsted as ‘good’ with ‘outstanding’ leadership and governance.
Social workers benefit significantly from the experience and learning we can offer and help us to change the way we work for the better, to further improve outcomes for children.
See Social Work Careers, for more information.