‘Our Space’ is a new hub for Wirral Care Leaver’s aged 16 – 25.
Although developed and set up by Wirral Council, ‘Our Space’ comes entirely from the ideas of local young people who have left care, and older Children Looked After. It is designed to be a welcoming safe space to give care leavers a place for developmental, supportive and recreational opportunities.
When we asked our young people what they wanted, they told us they would like a safe space they could call their own. A place where they could access a range of services dedicated to them and also a place where they could access activities; a place where they could see professionals in an informal way without having to go to four or five different places to get an answer, a place where they could come if they were in need and a place they would feel comfortable in.
(At Our Space) They can drop-in and relax, or meet with their workers from both the council and other partner organisations. They can learn to cook, design and make their own clothes, or develop their skills in living independently. Or they can simply come for a chat, a hot drink and a bite to eat.
The space has a hall that is zoned into four areas: ‘Performance’ has a stage, the ‘Urban’ zone has a pool table and games, the beach area has huts with laptops in and the chill out areas has a woodland theme. There is also a café bar in this space so young people will have access to food and drink.
There is also a kitchen for cooking sessions, rooms for gaming, parenting and arts and crafts where our young people recently been designing and making their own clothes. There is a conference room which has a more professional feel and where the Children In Care and Care Leavers councils meet. The building also includes office space for our staff who work with Care Leavers.
Wirral Council supports around 400 Care Leavers at any one time. These young people have had some of the most disrupted childhood’s possible and may experience significant disadvantage and vulnerability throughout their lives. Wirral Children’s Department, the Leaving Care Service, and other partners agencies work together to redress the balance by offering the best possible support for young people to achieve their potential.