The Children’s Society in Devon: CheckPoint Torbay
Independent, accessible support for children and young people
Programme Manager: Jim Skilton (interim)
CheckPoint Torbay provides a range of free and confidential information, advice and support services to children and young people aged 8 – 17. The Programme’s base is in Torquay but services are made available across Torbay.
The guiding philosophy of CheckPoint Torbay, based on over 21 years of local experience, is to ensure that young people have immediate and straightforward access to independent help. We aim to promote young people’s safety, health, values, rights and responsibilities in the community so they are encouraged to reach their own decisions and consider their choices in order to achieve their full potential.
One of our most popular and respected services is the Drop-In. This is a street-level access point for young people where no appointment is necessary and information, advice and initial support is readily available.
For many young people, additional and more specialist support is required and at CheckPoint Torbay we have developed and grown a number of services to meet these needs. These can be accessed either via the Drop-In, self-referral or with the support of an already involved professional such as doctors, youth workers, social workers and so on.
Currently these additional services are:
- Children’s Rights, which includes advocacy for children and young people subject to either child protection processes or who are Looked After by the local authority; and independent visiting for children and young people who are Looked After and have little or no contact with their natural family. This service also supports a Disability Council that supports young people with disabilities having a voice.
- Child Sexual Exploitation & Runaways provides two services which are separately funded but very closely linked, supporting vulnerable young people in developing awareness and skills in recognising risky behaviour and how to reduce or avoid harm.
- Counselling: several different types and levels of counselling are available, from informal and short sessions in the Drop-In, to more structured counselling sessions following assessment. Additionally we provide counselling services to some local colleges and academies.
- Homelessness Prevention provides advice, mediation and support for 16 and 17 year old young people facing difficulties in where they live and work to prevent youth homelessness.
- The Drop-In service provides confidential Sexual Health information, advice and support.
- Substance Misuse provides various levels of specialist advice, support and intervention for young people taking substances such as alcohol or drugs, with a view to helping young people reducing their harm and dependency.
All of our services are run by staff that are trained and experienced in both the specialist field in which they work, and in working sensitively and professionally with children and young people. Some of our services are also supported by volunteers, who we seek to recruit, train and support on a regular basis.