Latest News

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Celebrating Success 2018!

Celebrating Success took place on Saturday 29th September 2018. Held at Epsom Downs Racecourse and organised by Sutton’s Children in Care Council, this annual event is used to celebrate the achievements of looked after children and young people.


An incredible 89 young people and their guests turned up on the day, some in fantastic fancy dress, to collect their certificates and gift vouchers and take part in activities with their foster carers, family members and friends. Fancy dress costumes ranged from Disney princesses to Harry Potter to knights of the realm, Oliver Twist and even a Gangster Granny!


Nadine Wyatt (Participation Officer), Ben (Chair of UNITE), Zoe (Chair of TRIBE) and Jonathan Williams (Assistant Director of Children’s Services) opened the event with speeches. During the ceremony, the young people and their guests were treated to a delicious afternoon tea, where they were able to sample sandwiches, mini pizzas, sausage rolls, cupcakes and fruit salad.


All 89 young people were called to the stage in groups according to their nominated category; personal achievement, academic achievement, sports achievement, work achievement and multiple achievements. Councillor James read out the nomination and presented a  certificate. The children and young people were so excited and grateful for their award and gift voucher. Once the award ceremony was finished, the activities hall was opened.


The hall had a photobooth, chocolate fountain, candy floss and popcorn cart, funfair stalls, under 5’s play area, teenage ‘chill out’ zone, arts and crafts stall, hair and nails pamper stall, raffle table, sports area with a football table and table tennis, as well as a Children in Care Council stall. The children and young people had a fantastic time, the venue was full of laughter and happiness! It was brilliant to see children and foster carers mingle and meet new people.  


When it was time to leave, all the children were directed to the CiCC  “goodbye” table to help themselves to books, magazines and sweets; the children and foster carers loved it!


The CiCC received a lot of praise on how well the event had been organised and were assured all the children enjoyed themselves, wishing it didn’t have to end!! The Children in Care Council would like to thank all the volunteers, children, foster carers and social workers who assisted with organising the Celebrating Success event! A special ‘thank you’  was given to the CiCC team, Nadine, Oonagh, Lou, Melanie and Zoe.


We are already looking forward to next year’s event!

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Sutton United Football event

On Saturday 15th September, the Children in Care Council held an activity event at Sutton United football ground, in Sutton for children under the age of 10. We had 9 young people attend and have the opportunity to be coached by a professional learning new tricks and skills. The children had around 1 hour and 20 minutes on the pitch, running around and playing. All the children that attended learnt how to dribble the ball, perform kick ups and took part in team playing. The football coach split the children into 2 teams for a match resulting in a draw, making them all winners! At the end of the match, the children helped tidy away the balls, bibs and cones.


After the match, the children washed their hands and took off their boots and we went into the allocated room for pizza and snacks. We asked all the children what part of the event  they enjoyed most and what they wished they could do again; to which they replied they’d do the whole day again! The football coach gave the children a medal, which they loved !


We also talked about the forthcoming fancy dress event Celebrating Success.  We had many suggestions and ideas about what characters the children wanted to dress up as, including Gangsta Granny, Oliver Twist and Frozen! There were lots of questions about the activities at Celebrating Success and there was a great response when I confirmed the chocolate fountain and candy floss cart would be making another appearance!


Watch this space for a Celebrating Success report!

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Opportunity - LIFE course

 A LIFE course at New Malden Fire Station from Monday 30th of July to Thursday 2nd of August 2018 and I need to sign up some young people aged 14-17 and I was wondering if you could help me?


The LIFE course is an opportunity for young people aged 14 to 17  to spend 4 days with the London Fire Brigade to learn about the services that the Fire Brigade provide but also;

·         To become a firefighter for 4 days

·         Learn the same training techniques as operational firefighters

·         Learn fire safety and escape plans

·         Carry out ladder rescues

·         Wear Breathing apparatus in our smoke chamber

·         Consequences of hoax calls

·         Consequences of Anti-Social Behaviour

·         Formulate planned rescues

·         Be officer in Charge of the Watch


These are just some of the challenges that they young people will face thorough out the 4 day course!


The hours for the LIFE course are 8.30am to 3pm (cooked breakfast, lunch, snacks & drinks provided free of charge)


The Pass Out Ceremony for the LIFE course will be held on Thursday 2nd of August at 2pm, all Family and friends of the young people will be invited to attend.


All young people who attend the LIFE course will receive a LIFE Portfolio (containing certificates, assessment sheets and course schedule) , this can be used as an addition to their CV for applications for higher education and/or college etc.

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Quad Activity Week 30th July - 3rd August

The week is open to children, young people & parents who are working with the following teams: Sutton Locality Teams, Youth Offending Team, Targeted Youth Support, Leaving Care Team.  
The theme for the week is (Celebrating positive integration) the week will consist of activities such as Boxing, Football (for children with disabilities), Zumba for children & Parents, Parent coffee drop in advice, Movie club for under 10's,  Talent show, Music workshop & Tots & Teens session for babies and young mothers. Food and refreshments will be provided on a daily basis. 
This is a great opportunity to provide our children, young people & families free activities/ advice and information during the summer holidays. Referring is simple, All staff need to do is simply complete which day they would like their client to attend via a google form. 
For Boxing & Football a consent form will need to be completed by parents. 
Any staff who would like to refer a young person or parent please see attached forms and complete the google link below:
If you would like any more info please feel free to email Rachel Chesworth - or Brian Duffus - Brian Duffus


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UASC social and support group

We are starting up a UASC social and support group for the young people in the Leaving Care Team. The idea behind the group is to offer a safe and supportive environment for young people who are seeking asylum in the UK. We work with young people who have been living in the UK for a few years now who can offer excellent peer advice and support to others who have recently arrived.

Settling in to the UK, as well as working with solicitors and the Home Office, can feel overwhelming and so this group allows young people to be guided by people who have already been through the process.

We are hoping to plan monthly sessions with a variety of fun activities where everyone can get to know each other at The Quad, Green Wrythe Lane, Carshalton,  SM5 1JW on a Thursday. At the moment the focus is on getting a core group together; we can then agree a regular timeslot.

Please let us know if you would like to come and be a part of this group, either as a mentor or just to come along and have fun! :)


Leaving Care Team: 0208 770 6600

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London CiCC Meeting - Islington - 31st May 2018

A London CiCC meeting took place in Islington on Thursday 31st May to discuss three key areas (listed below) with a view to collating information and insight from care leavers and looked after children from the attending local authorities.  The aim is to present the findings to senior decision makers and the ADLCS (The Association of Directors of Children's Services) in Autumn 2018.

My name is Oonagh Bensberg and I am a Quality and Assurance Performance Officer working in the QA and Participation team in London Borough of Sutton’s children’s services.  I attended the event along with Melanie and and Sean, two or our CiCC members.

3 key areas:

Education support – what we need:

  • Information and guidance re entitlements and what to expect e.g. how pupil premium is used, bursaries and other entitlements

  • Training for designated teachers (mandatory), to include young people

  • Support with mental health issues e.g. peer mentoring


Accommodation/housing – what we need:


  • Secure accommodation/tenancies

  • Training on tenancies and preparation for independent living

  • Agreed minimum standards in relation to property


Money Management – what we need:


  • Support with budgeting (from age 14-16 latest)

  • A mandatory money management course to be completed before living independently

  • Ensure availability of a mentor/support re budgeting wisely


The session started off with a couple of guest speakers.

The first guest speaker was from the South London Commissioning Programme who circulated a questionnaire to young people about Placements;  initial group discussions highlighted the following areas:

  • Issues around trust with the SW’s

  • Preferred placement locations; ie near established networks and friends

  • Choice of placements

  • Nationality and ethnicity matching

  • More consideration of the young person’s views

  • Potential to have a good relationship with Foster carer


This was followed by The Tavistock Institute independent researcher talking about a project on young people's experiences in foster care.  The initial group discussions highlighted that young people preferred:

  • Easy access to transport links - for work and support

  • Comfort - favourite duvet or teddy

  • Friendly neighbourhood

  • Privacy

The young people at the meeting were given the opportunity to sign up and get involved in the research with The Tavistock Institute.

We then split into two groups for a focus group:

Young people’s focus group

All the young people went into a room and sat in a circle, introduced themselves and played an ‘ice breaking’ game.

They split into 3 groups and completed a money management questionnaire on the support young people receive in school and college. From this activity, they learnt that different local authorities work in many different ways with different systems in place to support young people.

Participation Officer’s focus group

All the participations officers and managers introduced themselves and briefly outlined what their CiCC’s looked like and what challenges and success they had experienced.  We discovered some local authorities also run a Care Leavers Forum and Young Inspectors programmes. One local authority had a CiCC choir and another use of a youth mini bus!

After lunch, we watched a Presentation by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation, a campaigning group that help people and organisations effect positive and lasting social change in their communities.

We looked at who are the important allies and opponents in campaigns and the various mediums that can be used to campaign successfully.

Thanks to Rose de Paeztron, Coordinator for the London CiCC, City of London Corporation for organising the event and bringing participation workers and CiCC members together to share their experiences and views.

Oonagh Bensberg

5th June 2018

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Recruitment workshop

If you're looking for tips on how to update your CV to make it eye catching to employers and want to know the 'do's' and 'don'ts' in an interview and much more - then we have the workshop for you! If you would like to attend this workshop at The Quad, Green Wrythe Lane, Carshalton SM5 1JW on Wednesday 27th June 2018 at 13.30 - 16.00 then please contact your PA or the LCT on 0208 770 6600 for more information.

Please note there are only 15 places available, so please register your interest with your PA, ASAP.


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Feeling stressed about exams?

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Pamper Day Party!

On Sunday 25th March a ‘Pamper Party’ was held at a local hairdresser’s named Degenis’s. The day was organised for the Unite CiCC (Children in Care Council) members for an afternoon of relaxation and treats. Eight girls attended the event and as our guests arrived they were warmly greeted by the staff of Degensi’s.  One foster carer had travelled all the way from Kent for her 3 excited young girls to attend the event!


With music playing in the background, we began with two girls at a time having their hair curled and another three girls having their nails painted while others tucked into party nibbles.  


Some girls created ‘Melting Beads’; pegboards were laid out and a peg pattern created. A member of Degenis’ staff took each design, covered it with parchment paper and ironed over it, resulting in the beads melting and sticking to one another.  This was a lovely keepsake to take home.


Once each treatment had finished the girls would alternate so that everyone had a turn. Then the music was turned up and everyone was dancing and enjoying the party atmosphere. We also had a karaoke machine and took turns to sing along to some favorite tunes.


Then, the best part of the day … the chocolate fountain!! Everyone got excited and tucked into strawberries and marshmallows coated in chocolate. Yum!


As the event came to an end, everyone was gifted with a party bag which contained some bracelets, nail varnish and treats.


Thank you to Maria at Degenis for hosting the party and Nadine (LBS)  for organising the event with a great local business, which everyone enjoyed.

Melanie (Children in Care Council Member)


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Mybnk workshop - 13th and 14th February

Hello, my name is Melanie and I attended the London Borough of Sutton two day, money budgeting workshop run by  Mybnk, at the Civic Offices on 13th and 14th February.


The aim of this workshop was to increase the access, use and motivation of young people to use digital tools to develop their money management skills and help build confidence with their budgeting.  


Over the two day course we:


  • Completed a booklet on what our money goals will be in 5 years time,

  • discussed income and expenditure

  • Looked at good and bad money habits and

  • Considered new habits we want to commit to.


We also looked at:  attitudes towards money, budgeting, sources of income, wage slips, tax, NI (National Insurance), how banks work and different methods of borrowing money.


During the event, we engaged in groups activities. In one of the activities, we split into 2 groups, with the two Leaving Care Team Personal Advisors joining in. We could wish for anything we needed and wanted to survive on a desert island but were only allowed to write down 6 items.  We discussed what we ‘needed’ and what we ‘wanted’ to survive on the island and the difference between both. We established a ‘need’ is essential but a ‘want’ is a desire and discussed how that relates to money management.


We were also informed about an App called ‘Spending Tracker’ which I have tested. This App allows you to add your income and expenditure and tells you how much money you have left. When adding in your expenses, you choose from categories such as eating out, clothes, general, shopping and more, however if a category you want is not listed, you can add it in. This App also shows a pie chart of where your money has been spent.

Ten candidates attended the workshop.   All the young people that attended both days will receive a certificate and a £15 gift voucher. The Leaving Care team provided lunch, refreshments and travel reimbursement for the young people.  We also had positive feedback about the course, see quotes below:


“All sections were very helpful”

“I recommend this course to anyone looking for financial help”

“I can now budget my money more effectively to save to go on holiday.”


The two day workshop was a great success and everyone that took part gained important information about budgeting and managing money.


Thanks to everyone involved in putting the course together.