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Creative and agile approach to supporting SEND youth

20 Feb 2023

Introduction to Leicestershire Cares

It is recognised that a huge barrier for young people when attending a new place or with new people is the anxiety of the unknown, this can be particularly difficult for young people with ASD. To help with this, participants were invited to visit the premises before they signed up to the provision, with the option of being accompanied by a guardian or support worker just to get a feel for the building and get to meet the staff without any pressure. Often the biggest step is that first visit to a new building to meet new people, the majority of young people who visited the Leicestershire Cares office for the first time and brought a guardian or support worker were attending alone by the end of our time on the project. One participant attended his first couple of sessions with the support of his Dad, but he grew in confidence so much that he managed to pass his driving test and would take the 30-40 minute trip on his own to attend sessions. There have also been instances where staff have sent photos and videos to participants to allow the young people to put a face to the name and feel more relaxed when meeting in person for the first time. Of course the room used for sessions has a ramp leading up to the door to allow wheelchairs and frames and participants have also been given the option to bring their support workers to the sessions who have been able to sit nearby and be there if needed.

I just wanted to let you know that I have decided to get the train to Leicester on my own tomorrow and I am feeling confident about it

SEND YES Participant

Appropriate Content

The staff at Leicestershire Cares constantly have a creative and agile approach to delivering content to young people and all sessions whether in a 1:1 setting or group are adjusted to suit the needs of the young person. An initial assessment using Outcome Star allows keyworkers to help the young person to identify what kind of support they require and also if they’ll be able to work in a group dynamic or not. During the Get Ahead programme on the YES Project, one particular session focussed on employer rights in the workplace which was a great opportunity to discuss disability, equality and diversity regulations. Creating a supportive and inclusive environment was a vital part of the success of the Get Ahead programme, mixing employability support content with team building exercises and informal chats, really allowed a strong group dynamic in each of the 6 week cohorts which led to all young people in attendance contributing to sessions and really growing in confidence as weeks went on.

I am so grateful that you guys have helped me to raise the bar and hopefully, my nursing career with go successfully all thanks to you guys, God bless you guys

SEND YES Participant

Referral Streams

Leicestershire Cares having strong partnerships across the City and County and the YES Project having a positive reputation allowed a strong mix of participants to get involved in the available support. Receiving referrals from places like JCP’s, CAHMS, Inclusion, SEND school leavers teams really allowed for a wide range of barriers and abilities across sessions and a great opportunity to make a positive impact for those in need. Having strong links to other projects across Leicestershire Cares also gave the opportunity for these young people to access further support with their social skills by attending fun and inclusive sessions around voice or just getting the chance to get involved in different kinds of social activities.

I want you to help me choose the right future for full-time career for myself, to help me to get the qualifications I need, and I think after meeting you, it would be good for me to finally meet more new people as well, mate

SEND YES Participant