The Outlook Fund

 

An introduction to the Just Us Groups



PURPOSE OF THE JUST US GROUPS

Just Us is an opportunity for young people in care in Cambridgeshire to get together and share their views and experiences of being Looked After. 

The young people are encouraged to put forward ideas for the group sessions.  These can include new skills they would like to learn e.g. arts, drama or information from outside agencies e.g. Drinksense or areas of being in care they would like changed e.g. over night stays.  The children’s participation officer will also bring topics that senior management would like to hear their views on so that they can be involved in policy and practice change from the beginning.  At no point will the young people be pressurised into working on a project that they do not want to be a part of.

The young people will have the opportunity to learn new skills and develop existing interests ones like drama, art work, dance, self esteem, confidence building etc. The main reason young people come along is to make new friends and seek some peer support. Group members may also be invited to take part in other participation projects like interviewing staff, training staff or other consultation events. 

Above all the purpose of the groups is to HAVE FUN!

ELIGIBILITY FOR ATTENDANCE

Just Us is open to young people over the age of 8 years who are looked after by Cambridgeshire county council.  It is open to children who are Looked After by other Local Authorities although it needs to be made clear to the child or young person that the views they give will only affect Cambridgeshire County Council procedure and policy.

HOW OFTEN AND WHERE DO THEY MEET?

There are currently 5 groups: 3 senior groups for 14 years and over and 2 junior groups for 8 to 13’s. The senior groups meet in Wisbech, Huntingdon and Cambridge.  The junior groups meets in March and St Neots. Each group meets once a month.  The senior groups will meet for 2 hours; the junior groups are for an hour and half.

The young people are given the dates and location of the meetings. The Children’s Participation manager or the Participation worker will discuss with the young person and their carers/workers about transport arrangements.  If the carer/worker is not able to help with transport this will be provided.

The young person will be called the day before the meeting to confirm their attendance and confirm transport arrangements.

THE REFERRAL PROCESS

Referrals can be received from anyone around the young person or the young person themselves.  The following information is required when referring a young person to the groups. 

This will include: -

- Name and address

- Name and address of carers/workers/family member (including relationship to young person).

- Emergency contact details and email address if applicable.

- Safety plan

- Any health issues

- Any other relevant information.

This information will then be passed onto the associated Just Us coordinator/adult advisor. The Children’s Participation Manager of the Children’s Participation Worker will visit the young person prior to coming to Just Us with their social worker/residential worker, to discuss the group in more detail.
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The Outlook Fund works to improve the lives of Cambridgeshire children facing difficulty and disadvantage, with a focus on the more than 400 looked after children.
The Outlook Fund is administered by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.



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