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The CEO Blog – Summer Edition

Summer holidays.  The time when schools shut down, kids can roam free, stay up late and then sleep in until somebody disturbs them.  A time to recharge your batteries, relax, refresh and re-boot in time to start the academic year all over again.

For adults it can be a very different experience.  I saw a social media reel the other day showing a woman making a phone call saying to the person how much the kids missed him, how much she missed him, how she couldn’t wait to reconnect and get their relationship back to what it used to be.  The man on the other end of the phone replied by telling her that she really shouldn’t keep calling the school office throughout the holidays.

Six weeks off school is a long time!  But it is time in which so many powerful childhood memories are created, and for the young people in our care, particularly when their early life experiences are often ones impacted by trauma before reaching us.

Creating positive experiences in childhood is a critical part of their healthy growth and development, and something we are passionate about.  There are many wonderful examples of our homes and services being creative doing just this throughout the summer.  Here are just a few;

On the Isle of Man, our teams have supported a week-long holiday in the Lake District, trips taking our young people to Alton Towers and even further afield to Tenerife as well as fantastic outdoor activity adventures in Wales. In addition to this, the Voices in Participation Team are planning a summer event, a VR gaming experience no less!

Across in the UK plenty of activity is taking place too.

Our regional Fostering teams have taken our young people with their carers to exciting days out at Chessington World of Adventure and Go Ape, where all had a great time.  For young people in our homes, camping has also been a popular choice alongside theme parks such as Thorpe Park and trips to the seaside – most notably Brighton.

I know there are many other activities being planned or have taken place.  Such pursuits really do exemplify how we work within our values. They also highlight how we are acting out our Philosophy of Care in practice, as touched on below;

“We believe in the potential of all to grow and develop within a safe and nurturing environment. We believe the most powerful way of doing this is through creating warm, authentic, patient, and reliable relationships within which people feel safe, seen and accepted for all that they are.”

Not only are these summer activities a fabulous way of achieving the above, they support relationship-building between young people and the adults who care for them, a key part of our social pedagogy approach.  By getting alongside our young people, doing things with them, and creating positive experiences, we all grow together.

Summer is also the time when exam results are announced, and many of our young people will be anxiously awaiting their grades.  Unfortunately, in this country there is a sad poverty of ambition for children in care, the majority of whom are statistically likely to perform significantly worse than their peers who are not looked after.

However, I am delighted to say that at St Christopher’s, our young people have a track record of higher levels of achievement, especially when they reflect their personal interests and ambitions. All this is made possible by their commitment, in collaboration with the great support they receive across all our services, and notably our Learning Support teams in the UK and Isle of Man.

When I hear these examples of excellence from every corner of our amazing charity, I am filled with admiration for everything our teams are doing on a daily basis. We know that for the young people in our care, they are not always aware of what goes into planning them a summer of support and fun,  so, on their behalf, allow me to say, thank you to all involved in making it happen.