At Birtenshaw we seek to encourage and support all our young people to explore new things and gain as much confidence as possible. Importantly we recognise that all young people move at their own pace and we are there to be patient and supportive throughout that journey. While at Short Breaks we were excited to see this progress in Dennis, one of our young people using the service.
Following a difficult Summer in 2014, Dennis chose to spend a large amount of his recreation time alone in a sensory room, listening to music, watching TV or sometimes having quiet time. Even though Dennis was encouraged to participate in other activities and to interact with other young people he remained apprehensive and sought time alone instead. After a number of weeks he slowly became interested in seeing where the other young people were going, he would watch them leave and arrive again with curiosity.
One day in October 2014, Dennis surprised the staff at Short Breaks when he picking up his shoes and showed he was ready for a community activity. Over the next few months, Dennis actively made choices around where he would like to visit and would happily get on to the bus, however he always refused to get off and explore the new surroundings.
By August 2015 Dennis began weekly activities with another young person from Short Breaks, they visited a variety of places including: Knowsley Safari park, Bolton Abbey and New Brighton. During these trips they seemed to really enjoy spending time together and get to see new things. We are pleased to say that after a number of trips Dennis was finally ready to get off the bus, while at Bolton Abbey he took the opportunity to walk over the stepping stones, and had a great time on the waltzer at New Brighton. The team were overcome with pride for Dennis, particularly his keyworker who has seen Dennis’ confidence grow! Since then Dennis has been for a walk around Rivington and revisited New Brighton for another look at the coast.
We are overwhelmed by his progress and can’t wait to see where he wants to go next…..
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Whilst working with young people it is important to look for opportunities to recognise and celebrate their achievements. Making real achievements and positive changes is something attainable by all, and we are proud to provide an environment that supports young people to do so.
Tarek moved to Birtenshaw in May 2015, during his time with us he has become renowned for his excellent manners and happy attitude. In recognition of his positivity in November 2015 he was asked to attend the Voice4U celebration awards, organised by Bolton Council, as he was nominated by his social worker as a reward for his ‘continued positive attitude and being extremely well mannered at all times’.
On the 23rd November Tarek attended the awards ceremony supported by his key worker, after much anticipation Tarek’s category was announced, though it must have only been seconds it felt much longer as we waiting to see if Tarek had won, and he did!
Tarek thoroughly enjoyed his evening and now has his certificate proudly displayed at home.
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The transition to adulthood can be both an exciting and daunting experience for our young people. Some may fear change and wish to stay in their familiar surroundings whereas others will push for greater independence and take an active role in their transition. There is no right or wrong way to deal with the changes that inevitably happen what is important is that we provide the most appropriate support and encouragement.
In October 2014 Ralph decided that he’d prefer to transfer from Birtenshaw School to a mainstream college as he felt he would gain more independence. As part of this transition Ralph independently made a presentation which he delivered during his review which discussed the reasons why he wanted to move on from Birtenshaw. This presentation made such an impact on both his social worker and his family that it was agreed that he should enter into mainstream college.
With minimal assistance from staff Ralph found a course at Preston College which he was interested in and enrolled, and within his first year Ralph successfully passed Foundation Math and English which would prepare him for his GCSEs.
During his time at Birtenshaw Ralph enjoyed experiencing new activities such as scuba diving, skateboarding, basketball and Zumba classes. He also took part in a Run or Dye charity 3 mile run to raise funds for Birtenshaw along with the whole staff team from the children’s home. However, throughout his time at Birtenshaw Ralph expressed his desire to live independently and to no longer be ‘looked after’. To equip Ralph with the necessary skills for such a transition staff actively encouraged and supported Ralph to gain independent skills such as doing the shopping, using the washing machine, using public transport and maintaining his personal care. With these skills Ralph was able to move to an adult home where he now lives independently with minimal support from care staff. He has truly thrived in this environment and is doing really well at college. It gives Birtenshaw staff great pleasure to see how our support has helped him to achieve his goals.
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