Introduction

Welcome to Yew Tree Cottage, Yew Tree Cottage is a children’s home in the town of Herne Bay in Kent. It is our job to help take care of children and young people between the ages of five to seventeen. Two young people can live at Yew Tree Cottage at one time. We understand that this may be your first experience in a residential home and it can be scary moving to a new place but it is important that you know we are here to help you feel as safe and secure as possible and want you to feel comfortable to talk about any worries or concerns you may have.

Ben - Manager for Yew Tree Cottage

"Hi, I’m Ben; I’m the Deputy Manager at Yew Tree. You will see me around the house between Mondays and Fridays. There may be times when I will come in over the weekends too. I have looked after young people for around 8 years now and will try and support you as much as possible, there are times when I may be out of the office but I will try and see you either before or after school. I want you to feel safe at Yew Tree and enjoy your time here."

There are a group of adults at Spencer Cottage that take turns to look after you, there will be two adults in the house at all times including night time were they will sleep over in the adult sleep rooms.

When you first move into the home, you will be given two Keyworkers, although you can speak to any adult in the home your keyworker’s will be the main two people you can go to with any problems or questions you may have.

When you arrive, an adult will help to support you to unpack and a check list will be put together of all your belongings to ensure none are lost.

We can show you around the local area, and will register you with a Doctor, Dentist and Opticians were you will have to go for an new patient check, don’t worry about this though as an adult will be there to support you.

Pilgrims Corner Mission Statement

Here at Pilgrims Corner we are committed to:

  • Treating each person in our care as an individual
  • Treating everyone equally
  • Supporting your right to express your individuality
  • Supporting and promoting your rights
  • Talking through issues with you in a dignified manner
  • Actively listen to what you have to say
  • Not judge your behaviour or any disclosures you may make
  • Ensuring that you are kept safe and protected from any abuse
  • Supporting your right to make complaints
  • Encourage you to make decisions and take responsibility for your choices
  • Encourage you to be an active participant in your care plan, placement plan and reviews
  • Support you in gaining necessary life skills

A LOOK AROUND THE HOME

This is the Lounge, you can spend time in here watching TV or chatting with staff and peers in the evenings after school.

This is the Games/Play room, here you can use the table to do arts and crafts, colouring or play board games. We will also use this room when we do themed events in the home.

This is the Kitchen and dining room; the adults will cook your evening meal here and you can use it to do independent cook or baking. (Don’t forget to wash your hands). This is where you will eat your meals.

This will be your bedroom, once you have moved in we would like to support you in personalising it how you would like, this is your private space.

This is the bathroom, this is only used by the young people that live in Yew Tree. There is a waterfall tap in the bath and the water is really warm.

This is the back garden, you can use the shed to store your bikes or scooters and if you enjoy gardening can help the adults make sure the plants are well looked after.

HOUSE RULES

All houses have rules and when you move into Yew Tree Cottage the House rules will be explained to you by an adult. If you don’t agree with a rule you can discuss it with the adults, and you can also be part of making rules within the home.

We all understand that sometimes you may find things tricky and this may lead you to becoming upset or angry. If this happens the adults will support you in any way they can. Adults will only ever physically hold you to prevent you from causing harm to yourself or others or if you are causing serious damage to property. If this happens you will only be physically held for the shortest period necessary for you to calm.

If you do break a rule or cause damage you may receive something called a sanction, any sanction should relate to the behaviour for example if you cause damage in the home you may be sanctioned to pay towards the cost of fixing or replacing the damaged item.

PRIVACY

At Pilgrims Corner, we think it is important for you to have privacy. You have the right to use the telephone to speak with family and friends where contact has been agreed with your social worker, however some of these calls may need to be supervised by an adult. You should be allowed to call other adults such as your social worker in private.

Your bedroom is your private space and you have the right not to have your room searched unless it is explained to you why. You also have the right not to have personal things about you discussed with people who do not need to know.

Yew Tree Cottage has an alarm system on the landing, once you have gone to bed this will be set, if you leave your room in the night the alarm will go off, this is just to let adults know you are out of your room so they can support you if needed.

CONTACT

Just because you are living away from your family and friends this does not mean that you will not see or hear from them again. You should be able to see your family regularly, unless there are certain reasons why this may not happen. However, when you do see them there may have to be an adult with you. There are different ways you can keep in touch with your family if you cannot see them as much as you would like. You could send them a letter or draw them a picture or you could make them something. You could also speak to them on the phone, but this may need to be on loud speaker or supervised by an adult. There can be times when it may not be a good idea to have contact with some but if this happens your social worker or Manager of the home will try and help explain why.

If you are worried about seeing someone then you should tell an adult or your social worker, you will not be made to see anyone you do not want to see. If you are unhappy with the amount or type of contact, you are having you should let your social worker know. You can call them or tell when they visit you.

HEALTH

Food is a really important part of everyone’s life and you have the right to a diet that fits in with your taste, culture and religion and one that is good for you! The home have weekly menus in place which help to make sure you are being offered a varied and healthy balanced diet. Exercising is also important, and you will be offered to take part in a range of activities to help you keep fit.

When you move to Yew Tree Cottage you will be registered with a Doctor, Dentist and Optician. The adults in the home will help you with this and make sure you have regular check ups and will support you with these if you chose. You will also have to go to a heath assessment each year.

To make sure you are healthy we will need to find out about your health history and keep a record of this. We will keep any medication you take safe in a locked medication cabinet in the office which you will be given when needed. We can also help give you advice and information on health matters such as smoking, relationships and sex and drugs and alcohol.

Sleep is important for your health and wellbeing. A good night’s sleep helps your mind and body to grow, helps you to feel happier in yourself and helps you stay focused and healthy. Your bedtime will be decided on your age and behaviour therefore it can change during your time at Yew Tree Cottage. Each evening you will be encouraged to complete an evening routine of washing and brushing your teeth then will be offered a settling period during which an adult can spend time with you helping you to relax and settle down for bed.

HOBBIES & ACTIVITIES

Pilgrims corner supports children and young people to participate in a range of hobbies and activities. We encourage all young people to get exercise through activities to support a healthy lifestyle. We also think it is important for you to meet and interact with others your own age so would be happy to support you joining any clubs you may be interested in.  If you have any interests or hobbies already, please let us know so we can help you to continue to enjoy them.

A range of activities you can try include such things as, Arts and Crafts, Dance or Drama lessons, Gaming Clubs, Horse riding, Trampolining, fishing, cycling, different sports such as football, basketball tennis etc. We understand that trying new things can be difficult so the adults here at Yew Tree Cottage are always willing to support you and try new thing with you.

CLOTHES & MONEY

We want you to look good and to do so we give you a clothing allowance of £10 a week. If there is anything you need through out your time at Yew Tree Cottage then let us know. We can help you save up for more expensive items you may want but you need to remember that money doesn’t grow on trees so you may not always be able to have everything you want.

You will also receive weekly pocket money, the amount you get depends on your age, to receive your pocket money you a required to do a room clean and tidy twice a week. You will have your pocket money tracked on a sheet and will need to sign this when you receive and spend money. Your money will be kept safe in a secure safe in the office. Adults can help you save your pocket money if there is something you want that is more expensive and Pilgrims corner will save £10 a week on your behalf to.

  • Age 5 = £6
  • Age 6 = £6.50
  • Age 7 = £7
  • Age 8 = £7.50
  • Age 9 = £8.00
  • Age 10 = £8.50
  • Age 11 = £ 9.00
  • Age 12 = £9.50
  • Age 13 = £10.00
  • Age 14 = £10.50
  • Age 15 = £11.00
  • Age 16 = £11.50
  • Age 17 = £12.00

INDEPENDENCE / LIFE SKILLS

Independence is important and we feel it is good for you to earn free time away from adults if it is safe for you to do so. If your Key workers and the Managers feel you are ready for free time a plan will be made for you to work alongside that will help build up the amount of free time you have away from adults. This will depend on your age and behaviour and can change depending on both.

We also think it is important for you to develop life skills and will help to teach you these, they can include, completing chores, learning how to cook, how to wash your clothes, budgeting for food and shopping. Again, this will depend on your age to begin with. An adult will support you with these but in time we would like to see you managing these things on your own to prepare you for adult life.

Being able to use a mobile phone and the internet as well as free time is a big responsibility, and this can happen at different stages for each individual person. Your keyworker will help talk through this with you and you will be offered guidance to make sure you know how to keep yourself safe online and out in the community.

EDUCATION

We want to make sure you receive a good education. All young people between the ages of 4 to 16 must be in education, and between the ages of 16 to 18 need to be in further education or in training such as an apprenticeship. School helps you to learn, develop friendships and social skills and can help to give you the skills and qualifications you need to succeed in the future. You have the responsibility to go to school each day. If there is a reason you don’t like school and don’t want to go, then you need to tell an adult so we can help support you.

If you do not have a school or your old school is to far away it is likely you will start at Pilgrims corner school, you may stay there for the whole time you are living at Yew Tree Cottage or you may go to a different school. This will all depend on what your social worker and the adults caring for you feel is best to ensure you get the best education possible.

FAIRLIGHT GLEN SCHOOL

This is FairLight Glen school; it is a small school that will take no more than 12 pupils at a time. The headteachers name is Chris Cordes. There are small classrooms at Fairlight Glen with a teacher and teaching assistant to help you with your work.

BULLYING

No one at Pilgrims Corner will tolerate anyone being bullied, so we want to make sure that you know what to do if you or someone you know is being bullied.

What is bullying?

Bullying can be described as anything that causes embarrassment, pain, distress, anxiety or humiliation to one person by one or more other people. This might be by being physical, like hitting or kicking you, or taking something of yours. Being verbally abusive by saying hurtful things, leaving you out of something that everyone else is doing or ignoring you on purpose. You can also be bullied online, this is called “cyberbullying”.

What should I do?

If you are being bullied the first thing you should do is tell an adult. This can be one of the adults that’s with you in the home, a teacher, your social worker or you can call one of the numbers you will find later in this booklet.

If you know some one else who is being bullied:

  • Try to be a friend to the person being bullied.
  • Don’t rush in and try to take the bullies on yourself, you might get hurt or others might think you are the one that is doing the bullying.
  • Talk to the person being bullied. Tell them you know what is happening and encourage them to tell an adult.
  • Think about going with them to give them support.

REMEMBER!

  • It is always important to tell someone if you are being bullied.
  • If you ignore it, you are telling the bullies it is ok for them to carry on.
  • It is not telling tales or grassing on someone.
  • It is everyone’s right to be kept safe.

FORMS & MEETINGS

To be able to care for you properly we need to know about you. We need to write information down so that it is not forgotten or lost. When plans or decisions are made it is important that everyone remembers what was agreed and what they must do, writing things down helps people to be clear, by doing this it helps inform your social worker about important things. Adults will write down daily such things as what you have done, what you have eaten and if you have taken any medication alongside how your behaviour has been.

Care Plan

Your social worker will make a plan for your time in care, this is called a car plan. All young people who are looked after must have a care plan. A care plan is about you and providing you with help and support. At Pilgrims Corner we will also complete something called a placement plan, this will explain your routines, your likes and dislikes, and any other important information an adult caring for you would need to know. Your keyworker will discuss this with you so you can be part of it.

REVIEWS & IRO’S

Review meetings are very important. The meeting is about you and your time in care. The review meeting is to check your care plan is still right for you and to discuss any changes that may be needed. Reviews will normally take place every six months. Your keyworker and social worker can help you understand more about your review and when these will be. If you chose to you can go to these meetings and share your views, wishes and feelings.

The person that organises these meetings is called an IRO which stands for Independent reviewing officer. And it is their job to make sure they know everything about your situation and what has happened so far. This is to make sure any decisions made are right for you and the best plans are made for your future.

COMPLAINTS 

How you are feeling matters. At Pilgrims corner we believe that most things can be sorted about by talking. If there is anything that you are not happy about like the time you have to go to bed or what you can or cant watch on TV, then these are everyday grumbles that you can discuss with an adult. Sometimes though you may feel that there is something more serious and if you have talked about it and nothing has happened hen you can make a complaint. Making a complaint means letting people know you are unhappy about something. You can do this in different ways.

You should always begin with letting your keyworker or another adult in the home know what is wrong and they will try and help you. If they feel they need help they will speak to a manager or your social worker. If you tell an adult something which is serious, they will have to pass the information on to other that need to know to make sure you are kept safe. The adults at Yew Tree Cottage cannot keep secrets.

If you feel you cannot share your problem with one of the adults or your keyworker you can speak to the Manger or call your social worker. If you are still worried or unhappy you can speak to Sarah Norman who is the responsible individual. It is her job to help young people with their problems and that any complaints are dealt with fairly. There are other people you can contact if you wish to make a complaint, their numbers are at the end of this guide.

Will I be in trouble for making a complaint?

If you have what you feel is a real complaint, then it is only right to let someone know if something is wrong. You will not get in trouble for this as it is your right. Remember you should never feel afraid to do this and it is best for everyone if you say what is wrong so we can make sure you are supported. However, you should never make a complaint about someone or something that is not true, and this can cause a lot of hurt and upset for everyone involved.

CONTACTS

Childline

Childline is a free 24-hour counselling service for children and young people in the UK where you can talk to someone about your problems at any time, day or night. Childline counsellors are there to help you find ways to sort things out. Childline is a confidential service which means they won’t tell anyone you have called unless you ask them to or if they feel you are in danger.

You can call them on: 0800 1111

Visit their web site at: www.childline.org.uk

Or you can email them by visiting the website and signing up.

Become

Become have been working to improve the everyday lives and future life chances of young people who are unable to live with their birth families since 1985. They help to provide individual and practical advice and emotional support as needed to help young people tackle particular issues in their lives that may be holding them back from achieving their goals.

You can call them on: 0800 023 2033 between 10:30 to 15:00 Monday to Friday or email them at: advice@becomecharity.org.uk

NSPCC

The National society for the prevention of cruelty to children (NSPPC) is a large charity. Its mission is to work for a better society were all children are loved, valued and cared for in order to fulfil their potential. You can access their website at www.NSPCC.org.uk or contact them on their 24-hour help line by calling: 0808 800 5000.

Barnado's

Barnardo’s is a childrens charity that protects and supports the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people. They can help you to feel listened and involved in your care. You can contact them on: 0208 550 8822.

Frank

Talk to Frank is a service that informs you of the dangers of different drugs and the law around each one as well as being able to offer support and advice and show you were the most local services are that can help you. You can visit the website at: www.talktofrank.com call on 0300 123 6600, text 82111 or email them on the website.

The Children’s Commissioner

The Children’s Commissioner has a legal duty to promote and protect the rights of all children in England with particular focus on children that live away from their families, who are in care or are leaving care. The current children’s commissioner is Anne Longfield Tel: 0207 783 8330.

Ofsted

Each House at Pilgrims Corner is visited by an inspector from Ofsted at least once a year. Ofsted is a big company who send someone out to look around were you live and make sure you are safe and being looked after properly. If you are unhappy about your care or something that is happening at Pilgrims corner or maybe not happening then they will listen to you. You can contact them on: 0300 123 1231.