Improving outcomes for children in care will form part of an “all out assault on poverty” by government, Prime Minister David Cameron has said. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester yesterday, Cameron said children growing up in the care system are “almost guaranteed to live in poverty”. He pointed to the fact that 84 per cent leave school without five good GCSEs, 70 per cent of prostitutes were once in care, and care leavers are four times more likely to commit suicide than anyone else. “These children are in our care; we, the state, are their parents – and what are we setting them up for? The dole, the streets, an early grave?,” he said. “This shames our country and we will put it right.” See more at:
Did you know that each year 80,000 young people aged 16-25 experience homelessness:
On Thursday 24 September, the government published the statutory homelessness statistics for England for the second quarter of 2015. Find the full homelessness statistics here:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/463017/201506_Statutory_Homelessness.pdf
How to be a foster carer: 'We slowly grasped the trauma of their short lives'. If you are interested in fostering, then this is a fascinating insight into the benefits and challenges.
http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/social-life-blog/2015/oct/07/how-to-be-a-foster-carer-we-slowly-grasped-the-trauma-of-their-short-lives (added 8-10-15).
Care leavers should receive support according to their needs rather than their age or whether they are in education or training, MPs have heard. England's Department for Education permanent secretary Chris Wormald told the Commons Public Accounts Committee those in education or training were entitled to support until they were 25. But for other care leavers, this entitlement ended at 21. And this "anomaly" meant the most vulnerable had the least support.
A new framework aimed at improving the accommodation available for care leavers has been launched. In a bid to prevent homelessness among care leavers – who make up 30% of the homeless population – the framework sets out what local authorities should do to help young people comfortably into after-care accommodation. Added 6-10-15. For full article see
Tombola donations: we URGENTLY require donations of unwanted gifts and other items suitable for a tombola to be held on Friday 8th October at Waitrose Newbury. All proceeds to be shared between us and Loose Ends, another local charity supporting homeless. Added 6-10-15
Newbury Christadelphians: congregation members have kindly collected £180.06 for us. This is the latest of several donations over the last 18 months from this small local church community. We are very grateful for their on-going support and a thank-you letter has been sent, as usual. Added 6-10-15.
Donation thanks: we have received a donation of £250 from a gentleman who would like to remain anonymous but who sees daily the value of our work. Thank you for this kindness. Added 6-10-15.
Two new residents: Two young ladies moved into Cornerstone yesterday. We hope that both young ladies will be very happy with us and make the most of our opportunities. Added 6-10-15.
Do you have a small spare flat-screen TV? We are looking for two small flat screen TVs for our two new residents so that all our residents can have some privacy of an evening to watch TV in their own rooms. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01635-500849 to arrange donation. Added 6-10-15
Kitchen dishes: as Cornerstone residents are all doing a fair amount of cooking the oven dishes have been taking a beating to the point that they were no longer hygienic. So we are on the lookout for Pyrex or earthenware dishes (rectangular preferably) of the type that can be used for pasta bakes, lasagne, crumbles etc. A range of sizes but particularly larger ones would be given a good home at Cornerstone. Also, we could do with a replacement food waste caddy for the kitchen as the current one has a broken hinge – does anyone have a spare they could donate?
Welcome Catherine: Catherine is our newest volunteer and is helping us keep our personnel records in order. She is an experienced administrator and works as a Parish Clerk. She will be coming into the office at least once a week for a few hours to help out. Welcome to the team! (added 5-10-15).
Donation thanks: a big thank you to Biddy & David for taking the time to drop a box of toys into us this morning to sell on our stand. They heard about our work from the Southby's allotment open day we attended and wanted to help. (added 5-10-15)
Pitch to the Panel: unfortunately we have not been short-listed to present our project at the Dragon's Den-style evening arranged by Greenham Common Trust on Thursday 12th Nov. However, our proposal is still open on Findmeagrant if you wishto donate. https://www.findmeagrant.org/wberks/payment/paymentform.aspx?appid=5dc422a5-320b-4516-be8d-6d7ad3676bef Added 5-10-15
Freecakenewbury: huge thanks to Anna for the amazing cake she has made for our longest-standing resident who is celebrating his 24th birthday. As a keen gardener, he was quite literally overwhelmed with his cake and thought Anna was just so clever to make it - and told her so. We all agree. Isn't it just the best cake ever?
Julie Burch Book-keeping: we are very excited to have Julie's help as a volunteer. Julie is helping us instate Quickbooks as our accounting system and we can't tell you how grateful we are for her help! If you need a book-keeper, you will find Julie at www.jburchbookkeeping.co.uk (added 5-10-15)
KPMG donation: thanks once again to the fund-raising committee at KPMG for all their hard work. They have raised a further £1,800 for our coffers. This will be used for general running costs. Added 5-10-15.
Royal Berkshire County Show - 2015: on a lovely September weekend, we were out with our stand featuring a teddy tombola and cakes for sale. Thanks to all the volunteers who made it all happen (see below), especially our Community Events Committee. Added 22-9-15.
£10,000 donation: Berkshire Community Foundation has taken our breath away yet again with another donation of £10,000 today. This is for running costs, which is always the hardest tranche of money for most small charities to find, yet often the most critical for the overall good governance of the charity. We are thrilled and grateful for their on-going support, especially as we work towards an expansion to support more young people locally. Added 21-9-15.
Achievements and positive outcomes come in all shapes & sizes: we are very pleased and proud that the young man who has been with us longest has just gained (Sept 2015) the LASER Level 1 Award for Learning, Employability and Progression (which is equivalent to working at NVQ1 and GCSE grades D to G). When he came to us three years ago he could not recognise the letters of the alphabet and was totally unable to read or write. He has twice weekly sessions with a volunteer who has specialised in helping young people with literacy issues and thrice-weekly one-to-one reading sessions with our Live-In House Supervisor. What an achievement this is for him! Added 17-9-15.
Another young resident leaves for University: On Saturday, the second of our young university-bound residents left us to start his new life as a Conservation student at Reading University. This young man has been with us two years and we have seen him mature and develop to the point where he could take this step. We know that without this 'breathing space' with us, his future would have been somewhat different. Proud doesn't begin to cover how we all feel here. Added 21-9-15.
Lorraine is coming back to work for us: thanks to fund-raising by Pangbourne Parent's Association, a grant from Thatcham Town Council and our own Community Events Committee, plus Greenham Common Trust's Top-Up scheme through Find-me-a-Grant, we are delighted to welcome back part-time a previous support worker, Lorraine. Lorraine has many years experience and skills in working with disadvantaged young people. Amongst a host of other duties, she will be helping new residents establish themselves and settle into Cornerstone, helping them find work etc. Added 17-9-15.
We are finalists at the West Berkshire Business Awards: we are all pretty excited here to have been selected as one of four finalists in the West Berkshire Business Awards. A gala evening is on the 16th October 2015 at Newbury Racecourse during which the winner will be announced. A cash raffle is organised with money raised on the night going to the ultimate winner of the West Berkshire Council Charityand Community Award category. See more information at http://www.westberkshirebusinessawards.co.uk/
Christmas Appeal 2015: Could you donate some toiletries, dried or preserved food items, jams & honey, herb & spice jars, vouchers, very simple cookery books, towels, bed-linen for single beds, socks, board games, comedy or film DVDs suitable for no older than age 15, 6x4" picture frames, non-alcoholic 'fizz', a few Christmas crackers etc are most welcome (no alcohol, please and email us for other ideas)? Currently, we expect to have one young man and three young ladies but if we get our second house by then we may have more young people. Why do we need Christmas donations? Christmas is one of the hardest times of year for our young people. For most of them, throughout their childhood, Christmas will have been a time of disappointment, perhaps conflict and a reminder of their less than ideal living circumstances. Our residents may have no other homes, parents or family to go to on Christmas Day and sadly watch from the sidelines as others excitedly buy presents for family and make plans to go home. At Young People & Children 1st, we try to support them as best we can during that time. We encourage them to make Christmas gifts to teach them the pleasure of giving, not just receiving, and that hand-made gifts cost little and are often more appreciated by the person receiving them anyway. We try to help them re-capture the excitement and pleasure of Christmas because it's never too late to make happy memories. Pangbourne Parent's Association have kindly offered to start off our appeal with donations again this year. Thank you. Added 17-9-15.
Pangbourne Parent's Association support us for another year of fund-raising: we were over-whelmed this week to receive not only a donation of £1,000 from the PPA - see article opposite - but also to learn that their Committee had voted unanimously to support us for another year of fund-raising. We feel humbled that, with so many worthy local causes to support, the Pangbourne College parents are supporting us again. Thank to all involved. (added 17-9-15).
Pangbourne Parent's Association donate £1,000: Having fund-raised for us through late 2014 to present, the Pangbourne College Parent's Association have just donated an amazing £1,000 to us via Find-me-a-Grant to help fund as support worker for a year. Thanks to Greenham Common Trust's Top-Up scheme, the final sum to us is £2,000. We are so appreciative of their support and are delighted to say that we have a support worker all lined up ready to start work. Thank you to all who fund-raised. (added 17-9-15).
Off to University today: By 9:15am this morning, our young resident was packed, room cleaned and in the car just like thousands of other bright young things across the country as they all get ready to start the next stage of their young lives at University. We feel excited and proud for him and wish him all the luck for a bright future. We will be keeping in touch from time to time. Now that is what we call a positive outcome! Added 16-9-15.
Winter Warming Fund-Raising Walk - There will be a 3K fund-raising walk organised by Waitrose taking place on Sunday 11th October to raise money for our Charity and another local Charity called Loose Ends. The walk starts at 4;30pm and will start and finish at Waitrose Newbury, Oxford Road. The entry donation will be £7 for Adults and £3 for Children to be paid on the day. For other donations or more info then call Catherine Knight on 01635 552061.Spread the word, tell your friends and family and bring them along with you so we can raise money and support these two local small charities to make a difference to the Children and Homeless people that they support and the Community. (Added 15-9-15)
Welcome to a new volunteer: Sheryl comes to us with substantial skills in social media and will be helping us to make the most of our profile on Facebook and Twitter especially. She is enthusiastic about our work and we are delighted to have her on board advising us. (Added 16-9-15)
We are recruiting for an Operations Development Executive! For more information on this exciting opportunity with us go to our Current Job Vacancies page for more information.
Children's Minister, Edward Timpson has appointed a private firm to oversee improvements at West Berkshire children’s services department following a poor Ofsted inspection earlier this year. A letter from Timpson toWest Berkshire Council said the council must work with Exploring Choices, to agree an improvement plan by 25 September. "The plan should drive continuous and sustainable improvement in the areas identified in the Ofsted 2015 report and the plan should be grounded in an understanding of the needs of children, young people and families," theletter states.
For full article go to: http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1153380/timpson-appoints-private-firm-to-tackle-failings-in-west-berkshire (added 9-9-15).
Off to University this week! We are so proud to launch one of our young residents into his new life as an undergraduate Sociology student at a presigious University. By way of thanks to those who have supported him best, he cooked them a delicious paella with salad and some fizz. What better an outcome can we achieve for this bright young thing? We have helped him achieve his dream and given him his future. Pictured here with Valerie, one of our newest volunteers, who has helped him to hone his budget cooking skills in preparation for student living. Added 9-9-15.
WINNERS! Best Newcomer at Thatcham Allotment Gardening Club. Thatcham Mayor, Mrs Sheila Ellison presented us with the cup and certificate. Our young resident is a keen gardener, often spending weekends down the allotment digging, planting and building and was delighted to receive this recognition for all his hard work. By their smiles, Patsy & John were equally pleased methinks! Added 9-9-15.
Newbury's Southby's allotments Open Day: on a beautiful sunny summer day we were invited to have our stand at the allotment's open day and raised £108.15. Pictured are John Stone (centre) with Chris Lawrence, Chairman (left) and Ian Thurgate.
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