Our Local Offer to Care Leavers represents the Council’s commitment to its care experienced young people and adults. We understand that trying to live independently, deciding what you want to do in life and managing on a limited budget are becoming ever more of a challenge as the cost of living rises year on year. We therefore want you to know that we are here for you and we’ll do whatever we can to support you, even if you need to turn to us after the age of 25. During the next year, we’ll be making the Offer easier to access by launching a mobile phone app that will enable us to keep in touch with you and let you know about anything that changes immediately. In the meantime, you can always contact your PA or the Team at Delamere House in Crewe.
Our local offer for 2023 - 2024 has been designed with some of our care leavers so we can be sure that we are giving you information in a way that you understand and that how we support you is right for you. You will find information about:
In July 2018 some of our care leavers met with their corporate parents to produce the local offer. People attended from the council, voluntary organisations and major employment firms in Cheshire East. They each wrote a pledge about what they would offer you in the future. Some of these pledges included you being a priority if you were worried about how you were feeling and also being a priority when you needed a home.
Each year, with our care leavers, we will hold an event where we review how we have delivered those pledges and be aspirational for the future, before we update our local offer. The most recent review was held on 21 November 2023 and was attended by Care Leavers, Councillors, local employers and a whole range of organisations who are in a position to offer advice, guidance and practical help.
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Preparation for adulthood
To prepare you for adulthood we will support you to access independence training from the age of 14. This may include starting the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Independence packs.
You will also have the opportunity to attend our online tenancy readiness courses which can be used in place of a reference on your first property.
Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network (ASDAN) courses
You can complete Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network modules around independence with your foster carers, social workers or personal advisors. After completion of the modules you will obtain an ASDAN certificate. Speak to your personal advisor, social worker or foster carer if you want to start this course.
It is important for you to feel safe, secure and happy in your accommodation. It is also important for you to be central to that decision making. To support this we hold a monthly ‘Ignition Panel’. This is where accommodation providers, the housing team and social landlords come together to explain their accommodation offers. You have the choice of;
- supported lodgings
- self-contained flats
- semi-independent accommodation
- ‘Staying Put’ with current foster carers
- bespoke accommodation packages
The panel can also offer you a trial in a flat and for you then to return to your home to reflect on this experience (this offer is dependent on assessment and availability). We are currently working hard with colleagues across the Council and beyond to broaden our accommodation offer and we will have more news about this throughout the year.
Cheshire East Home Choice award you as a care-leaver priority banding for accommodation. This usually means that you are given Band B status when bidding on Cheshire East Home Choice.
Move in package
When you secure your own tenancy you are provided with a basic move in package which can include basic items such as household tools, clothes and cleaning items. We also have an agreement with Engie who work with the Council and will provide six Care Leavers a year with help in moving house or decorating.
The Local Authority acting as a guarantor
We are trying to increase the number of arrangements in which the local authority may act as a guarantor for you, perhaps on a privately rented flat or house. This would involve an assessment and may require you to have completed some Independence packs, attended the tenancy readiness course and/or completed some ASDAN modules. Please speak to your PA if you are interested.
As a corporate parent we have a duty to engage and improve your relationships and connections with your birth family and support reunification and communication if it is safe to do so. The local offer supports this and family members are either consulted or invited to your pathway plan review at your request. Requests can be made to financially support your transport costs for to visit family members. Social Workers and Personal Advisors will also facilitate and support you with family members who you have not had contact with for a long time and with access to your social care records and files.
Setting up home allowance
When you obtain your own tenancy the local authority will support you with a £3,000 allowance. This will help you furnish and decorate your property.
Health and well-being
We believe that supporting your health will help you achieve in all other areas. This can be in relation to your physical health and importantly your emotional well-being. As a care-leaver you have access to a variety of support.
To discuss any health issues you could speak to your GP, your Social Worker/Personal Advisor.
Don’t be shy, some Personal Advisors are C-Card trained and can offer you direct support around your sexual health. We work in partnership with Body Positive, where you can also access support.
We work in partnership with Cheshire East Substance Misuse Service to ensure that you are provided will all the information you need to make informed choices about your future. If you need more information contact your personal advisor or the Cheshire East Substance Misuse Service.
To improve your physical health all cared for young people and care-leavers are able to access free gym memberships from Everybody Leisure. The Care Leavers’ service also runs a range of activities throughout the year – speak to your Personal Advisor if you wish to attend.
Health Summary (also known as Passports)
As a care-leaver you should have knowledge of your health history, immunisations and hospital admissions. Should you want this information please request this at your last review health assessment prior to turning 18 years old or from the 16+ cared for and care-leavers nurse.
Care Leavers have a dedicated physiological wellbeing worker provided by Pure Insight through partnership working with Cheshire East Care Leavers Service. The wellbeing worker offers weekly support, including CBT and can allocate fast track trauma counselling from Beacon Counselling - The Evolve Project. Care Leavers will also get fast-tracked referrals to Just Drop-In in Macclesfield who provide support to those who need a bit of help in finding their feet or who are struggling with their emotional health and wellbeing.
We work in partnership with The Motherwell Believe Project which is a specialist service supporting mums with a child, or children, who have been placed into care. They work with mums to help them grow in confidence, feel valued, to be emotionally strong again and improve their resilience.
Speak to your personal advisor if you want more information about the services offered.
Cheshire East Care Leavers Service wants all young people to fulfil their potential and we will do everything to support you in your aspiration and chosen path. We want to encourage you into education, employment or training and will do our utmost to help you along the way. We are doing the following:
- we are working with local employers and organisations such as the Prince’s Trust to maximise the work and training opportunities available to Cheshire East Care Leavers
- apprenticeships are a valuable stepping stone for young people, enabling them to develop real on-the-job skills and acquire a relevant qualification. In many cases, an apprenticeship offers a positive alternative to destinations with a more academic focus. It allows a young person who may not have had the very best of start in life, to acquire a sense of belonging in a place of work where their contributions are valued. They can also forge new relationships with a wider variety and age group of people within work settings; this in turn increases confidence and self-esteem. We have developed an Action Plan for Apprenticeships, speak to your PA for more information
- offer you a mentor who will help with not only education/employment/training but all other aspects of your life – Mentors provided by Pure Insight
- offer you the opportunity to sample jobs in the Local Authority and to visit and spend sometime with the teams
- fund clothing so that you look smart and are well presented for any interviews
- offer a financial incentive for volunteering and training if funding is unavailable elsewhere
- ensure you each have a Curriculum Vitae
- offer and train you in ASDAN courses to improve your skills and train you for future careers
- offer over 150 online courses via our learning lounge. Care-Leavers have their own access and can complete courses from food safety, resilience, organisation skills to Microsoft office courses
- we offer one to one tutoring for young people not enrol at colleges or in the process of returning into mainstream education. This is provided by our virtual school
- access to South Cheshire College’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course at any time of the academic year for unaccompanied asylum seeking children and European Economic Area Nationals
- offer a generous and supportive University Bursary and Allowance for young people completing full time courses
- we will purchase you a bicycle from ‘Re-cycle cycles’ if this is assessed to support your transport and attendance at your school, college, training provider or workplace
Participation in society and the local authority
We want you to feel that your voice is being heard, we want you to have options to engage in developing the local authority and improving the local offer year on year. As your corporate parent we want to know what is working and what is not working. To do all this our local offer includes:
- the offer for you to interview new staff into the service
- the opportunity to regularly meet the leaders and elected members of the Council and our senior officers so that you can share your views directly
- the offer to attend any of the young persons benchmarking events
- access to our Facebook page to not only speak to your worker but to tell us how to improve and engage in any polls and questions we may have
- My Voice (Children in Care Council) meets every Tuesday evening 6-8pm during term time at the Congleton Suite beneath Congleton Library. It is a group for Cared for Children and Care Leavers aged 11-25. My Voice not only works to create better chances for Cared for Children and Care Leavers but also works on campaigns that they are passionate about. My Voice have already been involved with improving services and the recommissioning of Emotionally Healthy Schools
- Our Care Leaver App will launch around April time and it will enable us to keep in touch with you far more easily
Finances and managing your money
We know that your money matters. It’s hard to manage as a care-leaver on a small budget and we are here to help you. We want to ensure you are able to budget so that you are not left short and can prepare for adulthood. To do this our local offer consists of:
- budgeting support via the tenancy readiness courses, independence packs and ASDAN modules
- incentives to a max of £30 per week if you are not in education, employment or training but are willing to volunteer and make a step towards finding employment or training
- birthday and Christmas allowances until you turn 21 years old
- financial support until your first Universal Credit payment is in place (max 5 weeks) so that you don’t have to make an advanced payment and be short for the next 6-12 months
- income maintenance of £67.20 for eligible young people
- a joint protocol between Cheshire East Cared for and Care Leavers service and the Department of Work and Pensions so that you can begin your Universal Credit claim early and you have a dedicated worker at your local job centre
- Council Tax Exemption nationwide until your 25th birthday – this ensures you have a little bit more income to get by
- we will purchase your first photographic ID and renewal so you don’t have too and you have the ID required to seek work and open a bank account
- in crisis we can help you speak with the citizens advice bureau, DWP and also offer referrals to your local foodbank
- support you with funding your first 10 driving lessons if you are able to fund the following 10
Further information: Care leaver entitlements (PDF, 1.11MB)
If you are pregnant or have a child
Care Leavers can access our young parents group. This group is run in partnership with Oaktree Children’s Centre and runs monthly and offers peer support from other parents.
Working with Pure Insight, new Care Leaver mums can access support from a Parent Angel. They provide a range of support on a one to one basis or group setting, to help with the transition into parenthood
Cheshire East’s Parenting Journey will support you from pregnancy until your child starts school. With a mixture of sessions from stay and plays in your Children’s Centre to your Health Visitor coming to visit you. It is a fun way for you to learn more about your babies / child’s development, speak to health and childcare professionals along with a chance to meet other parents. For more information, speak to your PA or contact your children's centre or your health visitor or contact family information service to find out when your next stop is.
Pure Insight provides Care Leavers with access to a Mentor. The mentors offer sound advice, a listening ear, practical help and a considerable level of nurturing, to support with the transition period from leaving care to adult independence through a one-to-one mentoring programme.
Your personal advisor can provide one to one support around healthy relationships. We also work with the Cheshire East Domestic Abuse Hub, who provide a single point of contact for families affected by domestic abuse, those who support them and those concerned with their own behaviours. High risk cases go straight to the Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Team. Other support is provided by commissioned services Barnardo’s and Cheshire Without Abuse.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers
We offer an extensive range of support to young people who arrive from other countries seeking asylum from help in obtaining your right to remain, ESOL courses to learn English, registering for medical services, accommodation to suit your needs and independence skills and help with Education, Training and Employment. We have a fortnightly support group at the YMCA in Crewe which will become weekly in the new year.
As a Cheshire East care leaver you will be supported by a personal advisor. Our personal advisors are here to support you individually and help you to stay connected with those who are important to you. They are also able to help you to find the right place to live, to be aspirational about further education, training and employment opportunities, be a parent and help you with all other things from where to buy your shopping to finding who can best support you if you are feeling worried.
In 2017 the government made it a requirement of local authorities to support care leavers up until they are 25. Our ambition is to support care leavers until they feel able to be fully independent, knowing that they can come back to us if they need support in the future.
Corporate parents are people who work for the council or people who support the council to deliver services. They work to make sure you are cared for and supported through your transition to adulthood. Find out more about your corporate parents.
We will be here if things in your life don’t go to plan or you chose to have a change in direction. If you have a personal advisor they will be able to help you and if you don’t you can contact us. Here are the details of how to make contact with the team and also some services who can help you with specific worries or problems, including how to make a compliment or complaint.