The Children's Society in Cheshire and Warrington
Unit 1: Theatre Court, London Road, Northwich CW9 5HB.
Phone: 08000 546 530 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 01925 454791 Email: WRN@childrenssociety.org.uk
Acting Programme Manager: Sue Preston
We run a number of services including:
From our Northwich base:
- Children’s Rights and Advocacy Service for Cheshire East
- Advocacy and Independent Visiting Service for Cheshire West and Chester
- Youth Inclusion Project covering Northwich and Winsford localities
From our Warrington base:
We provide a Children’s Rights and Advocacy Service for children and young people in care, care leavers, children on child protection plans and disabled children and young people. The children and young people may be in residential care, foster care, or may be placed with members of their own family.
The Advocacy Service empowers children and young people. It enables them to have a say in decisions made about their lives; ensures that their wishes and feelings are taken into account; and assists them to address any concerns or queries they have about the local authority service.
The Independent Visiting Service provides children in care with a trusted adult to visit, advise and befriend them when it is considered to be in their best interests. The target group is children in foster care and children’s homes, including those placed out of the local authority area.
Our participation activities ensure that we develop active and meaningful engagement structures and processes in Cheshire East, addressing issues that are important to children and young people and ensuring their voices are heard. Our work includes:
- Supporting Cheshire East’s involvement in the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) enabling young people aged 11-18 to be involved in this process at a local, regional and national level. Two young people are elected as members of UKYP each year, plus two deputy members.
- Running Cheshire East’s Youth Council, which provides local young people with a platform to express their needs and the issues that they face in the borough.
- Facilitating the Children in Care Council in Cheshire East which meets regularly in different areas across the borough. We involve cared for children and young people of all ages and care leavers to make changes and influence decisions whilst having fun and making friends.
- Ensuring that children and young people have a say in service development and change and that different partners and agencies are involved in all processes to promote participation.
Cheshire West and Chester Children’s Rights Service provides advocacy and independent visitor services for children and young people who are looked after, or who are care leavers of Cheshire West and Chester Social Care regardless of where they are living.
The programme also offers advocacy for children and young people with disabilities, covering several important areas:
- listening carefully to children who need to get their views and feelings across
- giving children a voice in decisions that affect their lives
- ensuring young people’s rights are respected and that they are treated
- helping them solve problems in ways that feel comfortable to them
- advocacy for children with complex communication needs, severe learning difficulties and children without speech
- non-instructed advocacy for children with severe communication impairments (where the advocate gains information from those who know the child well and gauges what the child’s views are by observing their behaviour).
Independent visitor service
Children and young people can choose to have an independent visitor to befriend them. This is a volunteer who will get to know the child or young person by taking them out and doing activities together. The independent visitor is someone who is committed to developing a relationship with the child or young person based on trust and friendship.
The child or young person and the independent visitor will usually meet up for at least two hours a fortnight. Activities that children and young people take part in with their independent visitors include:
- sharing hobbies
- things that the child or young person might like to do.
We work with a targeted group of young people aged between eight and 15 years who are referred to the programme by schools, police, youth offending service, community safety wardens and children's services.
The young people are offered a 12 week programme of activities, a range of exciting school holiday activities, group meetings where concerns such as healthy living are discussed and individual help with problems. We provide a safe space with specialist staff that can support young people to make the best of their challenges and opportunities. We offer mentoring for children referred by school who need some extra support. The aim is to foster social inclusion, increase young people's confidence and self-esteem and thereby reduce the likelihood that they will become involved in crime or anti-social behaviour and are better equipped for school and family life.
This is a service for children aged six to 13 years of age, their parents and carers. It is funded by the Big Lottery Reaching Communities programme in partnership with Golden Gates Housing Trust and offers a whole family approach by building on all aspects of family life, growth and development.
We facilitate children’s groups, parenting programmes and individual family support to young people and their parents.