Local offer for care leavers

Our local offer has been designed with some of our care leavers so we could be sure that we are giving you information in a way that you understand and how we support you is the right kind of support. You will find information about;

  • where you can live
  • what education, training and employment opportunities you will have
  • supporting you to be healthy
  • encouraging you to be connected with your friends, family and community
  • helping you to budget and manage your finances
  • what to do if things don’t go to plan

Who can get support through the local offer

You can get support if you have been;

  • cared for by Cheshire East for at least 13 weeks between the ages of 14 and 16 (including your 16th birthday)
  • cared for by Cheshire East for 13 weeks after your 16th birthday
  • are cared for by Cheshire East as an unaccompanied asylum seeking young person and are seeking leave to remain in the UK
  • eligible/ relevant/ former relevant/ qualifying (limited service)

How we can help

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Accommodation

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 also has the availability to offer you a trial in a flat and for you then to return to your home to reflect on this experience (this offer is dependant on assessment and availability). This panel and process was nominated for a 2017 Children and Young People now award in the category for care-leavers.

Priority Housing

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 (max £20) this can include basic items such as household tools, clothes and cleaning items.

Joint working

A Housing Options Officer is based within the cared for and care leavers service once every fortnight. This worker is able to support the workers both with homelessness issues and applications for Social Housing.

The Local Authority acting as a guarantor

On some occasions the local authority may act as a guarantor for you. 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.

Staying connected

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. 

Setting up home allowance

When you obtain your own tenancy the local authority will support you with a £2,500 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.

Sexual health

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.

Substance Misuse

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.

Physical Health

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 football sessions at Middlewich High School – speak to your Personal Advisor if you wish to attend.

Health Passports

As a care-leaver you should have knowledge of your health history, immunisations and hospital admittances. Should you want this information please request this at your last review health assessment prior to turning 18 years old or request it from the 16+ cared for and care-leavers nurse.

Emotional Health

Care Leavers have a dedicated physiological wellbeing worker provided by Pure Insight through partnership working with Cheshire East Cared for and Care Leavers Service. The physiological wellbeing worker offers weekly support, including CBT and can allocate fast track trauma counselling from Beacon Counselling - The Evolve Project.

The personal advisor team also has a dedicated emotional wellbeing worker, who offers advice and one to one support around improving emotional health and general 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 emotionally strong again and improve their resilience.

Speak to your personal advisor if you want more information about the services offered.

Education

Cheshire East Cared for and Care Leavers service want all young people to fulfil their potential. We will support you in your aspiration and chosen path. We want to encourage you into education, employment or training and will do our upmost to help you along the way. To help you we will do the following:

  • 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 any job in the Local Authority and to visit and spend sometime with that team
  • 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
  • offer a 6 month funded traineeship program for 10 care leavers each year. This is managed by Mploy
  • 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 every new Children's Social Worker into the service.
  • the opportunity to regularly meet the leaders of the council and senior members of the council and this will involve senior officers and elected members meeting with your 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.

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
  • £60 per week income maintenance (16/17 year olds). This is above the Universal Credit amount of £57.90
  • 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

Relationships and who will help you

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.

Mentoring

Pure Insight provides Care Leavers, access to a Pure Insight 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.

Healthy relationships

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.

Dad or dad to be

If you’re a Care Leaver dad or dad to be, you can speak to the specialist male Family Support Workers who run ‘Dads Stuff’ Group and provide one to one support can also been provided.

Creating our local offer

On the 12 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.

Your personal advisor

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

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 some of your corporate parents (PDF, 2.1MB).

Corporate Parenting Strategy

Our Corporate Parenting Strategy outlines all the ways in which you will be cared for and supported through your transition to adulthood.

What if things don’t go to plan

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.

  • Care Leavers team - 01606 271500
  • Complaints team - 01270 686200
  • Children's Society - 01925 650127
  • Voice for Children - 01270 686946
  • Youth Support Service - 01270 686923 or 01625 384320 
  • Participation team - 01625 384320
  • Independent Reviewing Service - 01606 288930