A dedicated ‘hub’ is being created to give young care leavers a safe space for support with learning, health, accommodation and more.
Wirral Council’s Children’s Services duty team offers a single point of contact for care leavers, particularly at times of crisis. Since the coronavirus pandemic, the care leaver team has had to scale back its usual contact, operating predominately ‘virtually’.
Now, a building which is already leased by the council in Birkenhead will become a hub for care leavers, to give them and the staff who support them a physical place to have face to face contact. It will allow care leavers to access a space, dedicated to them, where they can pick up a range of independent living skills - preparing them for success in adulthood.
The establishment of the hub has been done with input from care leavers themselves.
One care leaver said:
“A new hub would mean us having our own place. Somewhere that is a constant in our life, some stability. A place where we can feel safe together and we can be with people who have had the same experiences as us. A place where we can go and not feel judged.”
Another young person added:
“It will be somewhere safe, somewhere with people to rely on and help us achieve our goals and something new.”
The building will be adapted to ensure it meets COVID safety measures.
Cllr Tom Usher, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said:
“We are determined to make Wirral a great place for all our young people, and that starts with listening to them about the kinds of support they want and need.
“The hub will mean staff can engage and work with young people more effectively, to help them through any problems they may face. While virtual contact through phone and video calls has worked wonders, we can offer more than this.
“It’s important we meet the demand and needs of our care leavers, who may not feel comfortable picking up the phone. Dropping into a more informal safe space will enable them to get the help they need.”