Our offer

Take a look at our leaving care offer below and find out about what entitlements and support are available to you. If you would like to speak to someone about your offer, then contact your personal advisor or get in touch!

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Our leaving care offer

Participation

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Participation in your community and society

We want you to be happy and engaging in the community where you live. Your Personal Advisor (PA) can support you to find social and religious groups, events and activities you may be interested in joining.

We have been able to secure gym membership for free or at a reduced rate for Children We Care For and Care Leavers. If you are interested in joining a gym or enjoy any other leisure type activities, talk to your PA and they will be able to tell you what’s on offer for you in your local area, as the same things are not available in all areas.

Your PA will ensure you know how to register on the electoral role and how to vote in both local and general elections.

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More about us

Voice and Participation Team

The Voice and Participation Team is here to make sure West Sussex County Council listens to the views, ideas and opinions of young people. We are passionate about putting children first and ensuring that services, individuals and decision-makers have young people’s views at the heart of everything that they do.

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Mission

Our mission is to take a youth-led approach to making a difference in the lives of young people in an honest, energetic, enthusiastic and creative way.

About us

We work by supporting young people to get involved in various opportunities that enable them to communicate ideas and views about how services can be shaped to support young people in the very best way. This includes several forums, activities that bring young people together, various consultations and celebration events to recognise and share the successes of our young people.

We work with children’s services and their partners to help them develop ways to engage with young people in their departments. We believe that a part of our role is to ensure engagement is non-tokenistic, young people are involved in projects at the earliest possible stage, to challenge negative perceptions and think of less traditional, more creative ways to engage with young people.

Everything we do is underpinned by our mission, to be honest, energetic, enthusiastic and creative and we use these traits to develop ways to involve young people, hear their views, celebrate their successes and ensure all young people in West Sussex know we put them first.

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Our message to young people

We understand what it feels like when you are not listened to, leaving you feeling excluded, isolated and fed-up. It can feel like nobody understands what life is like for you and you’ve got no one to talk to.

We know how important it is for people to believe in you and your aspirations and how you dislike people suggesting that you do things that don’t seem right for you. You get frustrated when you are asked to fill out survey after survey but don’t know what has been done with your views.

You tell us it’s important to have a place where your voices are heard, acted upon and you are told about the changes we have made. That’s why we are here, to provide a platform for you to speak, share ideas and know that you’re being listened to.

Asking you what you want only works when adults are willing to act on these views, and it is our job to make sure this happens.

Participation is not just about attending meetings with adults, or filling out a survey; it is about you having the power to discuss the things that are important to you in ways you want to engage with.

We have a duty to ensure all your people can share ideas, they are educated about their services, their rights and that they are supported in the right way at the right time.

We know that by listening to you, providing you with opportunities to authentically engage and have fun, we can make services the very best for all young people. It’s our job to speak on behalf of young people and provide a platform and opportunities for you to speak for yourselves.

We want every young person to be heard and know that they have somewhere to go where they will be listened to. That’s why our mission is to take a youth-led approach to making a difference in the lives of young people in an honest, energetic, enthusiastic, creative and supportive way.

How we work with you

We support young people in 3 ways:

Listening

We offer several formal groups, and host activities for young people to share their views and engage in interesting conversations about what’s important to them.

Our formal groups include:

  • Youth Cabinet
  • UK Youth Parliament
  • Care Leavers Executive Group
  • Care Leavers Advisory Board
  • Children in Care Council (for young people in care under 16).

Our activities bring young people together to experience new things, have fun and meet new people. We provide the following activities:

  • Outdoor activities
  • Creative days
  • Days out
  • Online engagement.
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Sharing

Hearing and sharing the views of young people is crucial to ensure young people are heard and services can act upon what ideas and views they have. We listen and share views in the following ways:

  • Consultations
  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Training
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Acting

To enable positive change, we take action based on the views and ideas of young people. We work collaboratively with the service to offer young people a number of opportunities to be active participants in change such as:

  • Attending decision making meetings
  • Children and young people’s scrutiny committees
  • Engaging in policy change
  • Involvement in service review and design.

We believe by listening to young people and sharing their views and ideas, we can inform action that leads to positive change.

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Listening

We want to listen to you, hear your ideas and views and work alongside you to ensure we are providing the best care, which puts you first. We have a number of ways you can speak out and have your voice heard!

Sharing and Influencing

Hearing and sharing the views of young people is crucial to ensuring young people are heard and services can act upon the ideas and views they have.
We ensure you are given the means, support, training and influence opportunities to have your voices heard in services that affect you lots of ways, described below. If you would like to get involved in any of these activities, get in touch with the Voice and Participation Team at: voice@westsussex.gov.uk

Consultations

We ask for your views through consultation requests. These requests could be asking a group of young people to come together and share their views on a certain topic or asking you to write to us and share your views. We also have a really cool way for you to share your views online though something called ‘Engagement HQ’; we use this to understand all peoples views from across West Sussex.

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Surveys

From time to time we may send out surveys to you so that we can ask you specific questions. These will usually be when we are changing a service like leaving care or mental health services.

The surveys are really important because it gives you the opportunity to tell us what we can do to change and any other ideas you may have.

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Staff Interviews

West Sussex want to have a committed community of people who care about putting Children First. We believe that you should be involved in the staff that we recruit; this is something we always ask young people to be involved in.

If you are involved in an interview, you might:

Training

We make sure the people that care for you have the best training. This is to ensure that they understand everything they need to when it comes to offering you support. Training is powerful when you are involved to share your views, tell people what you think they can do to support young people and give advice and guidance.

Attending decision making meetings

There are several meetings you can attend where important decisions are discussed and made. These meetings include:

  • Corporate Parenting Panel

    This is a meeting where all the major decisions are made for the whole of children’s services, this includes schools, health services, youth justice and many more.

  • Journey To Independence Group

    This is a forum where they focus and discuss all the important things about leaving care. It includes people from housing, health, finance, employment, education and more.

  • Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel

    A panel that is responsible for the overview and scrutiny of children and young people’s services and the learning and skills portfolio.

  • Children First Board

    This group aims to improve the outcomes for young people that live in West Sussex, make sure all agencies work together and listen and respond to the views of children and families.

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Activities

We don’t just want to hear your views, we want you to have fun, meet other young people and get involved in activities that develop your skills and experiences. We offer several activities throughout the year that you can get involved in.

Advocacy

An advocate is an independent person who helps you speak up for yourself. They also give advice, make you aware of your rights, listen to you and represent your views, wishes and feelings. An advocate will support you so that you can have your say about the care and services you receive.

An advocate can help you when:

You can contact the advocacy team at any point to request an advocate, their contact details are in ‘contacting us’ section of this offer.

Getting an advocate

All care leavers in West Sussex can have an advocate, they are here to support you and ensure that you’re being listened to. Getting an advocate couldn’t be easier, just send us an email asking for one at: AdvocacyService@westsussex.gov.uk

Contacting us

Here are some contact details to enable you to reach out and let us know how we can help!

Complaints, comments or compliments

If we provide a social care service to you or your children, you, or someone acting for you, can make a comment, compliment or complaint about that service. Parents, carers, foster carers, special guardians and adoptive parents can use these procedures to make a complaint about the services we provide for children and young people. People known as ‘advocates for children and young people’ can make a complaint on their behalf. If you need help with your complaint, please contact us. We can put you in touch with organisations that can help. We can also help children and young people find an advocate (someone who will act on their behalf) to help them make a complaint. If you have a complaint about a private children’s home or provider you can ask the home or the person providing the service for a copy of their complaints procedure so that you can follow that. However, if you are unhappy with any residential or support service we have arranged for you contact:
Customer Relations Team, County Hall, Chichester West Sussex, PO19 1RQ. Phone: 01243 777100 (ask for the Customer Relations Team). Typetalk: 18001 01243 777100. Email: feedback@westsussex.gov.uk. Website: www.westsussex.gov.uk/complaints

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Advocacy Team

To request an advocate contact the Advocacy Team and just ask!

Email: AdvocacyService@westsussex.gov.uk
Tel: 03302228686
Address Bridge House, Barrington Road, Goring-by-Sea, Worthing, West Sussex, BN12 4SE

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Voice and Participation Team

If you’re looking to get involved in any of the opportunities in this offer then reach out the Voice and Participation Team at: voice@westsussex.gov.uk

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