On the 16th of June, some students here at Keresley went on a medieval siege to Warwick Castle for the day, with the intention of a fun day out to learn about the good old days of castles, knights and trebuchets. Leaving straight after breakfast, the students were on their way for a great day out.
Arriving at the Castle, the students jumped out of the minibus, eager to get the day started. Starting off with a walk to the main castle, taking in the views around them with huge brick watch towers and giant walls giving off a genuine feel of medieval times. When they got to the main castle, the students walked in and started to look round, both students taking a large interest in the weapons and armour, their favourite seemed to be the Brown Bess, which is a large Musket dating back to the late 1700’s.
After spending a good bit of time in the main castle house looking around the students decided they wanted some lunch, so they went to get food and sat in the “inner court” . After lunch the students sat down for some ice cream and talked about what they would like to see next, both deciding they were ready to brave the dungeons…
While finishing their ice creams the staff and students walked to the dungeons, each saying it won’t be scary, it’ll be silly - not realising what they were in for. After walking in through the doors they realised it wasn’t as silly as they thought, in fact it was very tense, and scary with actors playing people who have been locked up, telling them their stories about what they’ve done and some going to the students and giving them a few scares, leaving both staff and students scared but laughing.
After the dungeons they ventured off to the mazes, ready to prove that they have a great directional sense, in the end just proving they have a great skill at getting lost. Throughout the mazes there are stamps, which you have to go round and stamp your card with, so the staff and the students split into two teams ready to race off to find out who could find the stamps the quickest…. “Ready...Set...GO” as both teams shot off round the mazes collecting the stamps.
With the students returning first with all stamps in hand the staff accepted a loss, but instead of leaving the staffs with some stamps missing, the students chose to help the staff out guiding them and giving them hints along the way. With both students tired but happy with such a good day they headed back for the Centre.
After a successful siege, and a win for Keresley we have more enrichment trips on the way.
(Assistant Teaching Assistant)
The Arethusa Venture Centre has introduced a monthly award for “Employee of the Month”.
Ian Eldridge the proprietor of Bartella’s restaurant in Meopham, Kent, has kindly donated the prize in the form of a voucher for two at his restaurant each month. The restaurant serves delicious Mediterranean cuisine and will go down well with the staff!
This award is in memory of Lyn Cleverley OBE who was a former SYP trustee and Vice President of the Sea Scouts. Lyn lived in Meopham and frequented the restaurant on a regular basis and was an avid supporter of the AVC, visiting us many times right up to her death in 2013. The young people and the experience the staff gave them whilst with us was something very close to her heart.
The Arethusa SMT makes the decision who the recipient will be from the various teams nominations at the end of each month.
The recipients of the awards to date are:
March – Yvonne Boland, Sheila Lundy and Abi Rayner – Housekeeping team
April – Emma Gibbons, Administrator
May – Hannah Perry, Instructor
Congratulations to all AVC staff members who have won Employee of the Month so far.
Ian Eldridge is also very generously donating 20p each time soup is ordered from the menu, (Lyn’s favourite!) And will present us with the amount raised on an annual basis to be spent on new activity equipment.
We thank Ian for his kind and on-going support of the AVC.
A very warm hello and welcome from me as I step into the fold as the new CEO of SYP from June 1st 2017. Bob Goldfield has now retired from SYP and is looking forward to his new life as an entrepreneur and family man, we at SYP wish him all the very best for the future.
Prior to joining SYP in July of 2016, I spent 28 years within public services as a senior Detective with the Police Service, Child Protection and Drug units to leading senior management teams within the Education domain. I have picked up a great many useful tools along the road and very much hope to capitalise on these to move the charity forward into a new era, especially as we are in this evolving digital world. Innovation has always been emblematic with SYP and I will continue to carry this as I embrace my role as the CEO. I enjoy sports, travelling and I am married with two teenage children which reminds me of the importance of creating a good work life balance.
Many of the young people we help, have seen and experienced more in their short lives than young people of their age should have and often find themselves on the fringes of our society, often through circumstances over which they have little or no control. Isolation is a horrible place, criminal behaviour can often follow, as temptation beckons. Our intervention, as I have witnessed and heard on many occasions is often the life line they so desperately require. Keresley, Stoke and London, provide this support on a daily basis and are terrific models and examples of what can be achieved.
Siblings, is a terrific success story. It is unique in the service we provide to these often very vulnerable children and under the steer of the current manager and her team have gone from strength to strength, year on year. Our advocacy remains clear that wherever possible, siblings must have access to meaningful contact. More camps this year are planned than any other thus far. Siblings United combines holidays and creative learning with significant success stories for some families as the programme continues to offer that special ‘value added’ service.
The AVC, carries the historical evidence, the Statue of “Arethusa”, and the basin where the ships which housed many boys now provides/runs courses in swimming training. Prior to my appointment I was involved with the redevelopment plans of the Centre to return to the roots of offering training. The centre, with a new management team, has been exploring new areas of business which are now in the pipeline as a result of this proactive approach. I will continue to support their endeavours and wish them luck in continuing the journey that William William’s and Lord Shaftesbury started.
The Charity has faced many challenges in recent times, I hope to steady the ship and give direction and focus. I am, however, very positive about the future. One thing is for sure. I cannot do it without a team committed to the same vision and ethos. I am a determined and committed individual and passionate about the work we do along with my senior management team. We will explore new ideas and think positively and outside the box to create new services and opportunities for young people, Youth Voice being central in creating those services.
Finally, in light of such awful recent events in both Manchester and London, it is often difficult to fully focus on our own objectives. As an organisation our hearts and minds go out very sincerely to all the families and friends affected by these tragic events. In an ever more volatile and violent world it is never more important to continue in our own way to bring some stability to the lives of those we touch daily.
Our staff will continue to work with young people to foster compassion, connectedness and empathy in a world that has created hatred, separateness and dissolution.
My leadership is a shared one with committed and passionate staff, working together as a team. I believe that SYPs legacy will continue through this strong and cohesive team that will strive to achieve our shared mission and vision.
Recently here at Keresley we have extended our reach, reaching out to other schools around us in hopes of working together. With Hartshill school willing to “scratch our backs” by offering to network share one of their minibus’s, giving us a reliable mode of transport and opening up more doors for the Centre.
With the mini bus being used daily to pick up and drop students to and from school, as well as transporting them to offsite trips and course’s, the network sharing has turned out to be a renowned success. With the majority of staff able to drive the bus due to the MIDAS test, each staff member does their own share of driving and transporting, therefore making it a smooth operation.
With a set of wheels, and all feet on the ground, things are going smoothly here at Keresley, and we look forward to what the future holds.
(Assistant Teaching Assistant)
Following the success of last years Easter revision club, SYP in Stoke on Trent organised a two day revision club at Stanley Head Outdoor Education Centre for year 11 students. During the mornings the pupils took part in maths and English activities focused on GCSE exam preparation. Many of the year 11 students that attended were regular participants at the monthly SYP afterschool revision club. The students were enthusiastic and enjoyed the opportunity to work in small groups supported by SYP workers. The morning was broken up with the use of brain-break activities and games related to the topics being covered.
In the afternoon the students were able to choose what activities they would like to take part in. On the first afternoon half of the group took part in rock climbing whilst the other half of the group took part in air-rifle shooting. The following day the students chose to take part in archery. The students enjoyed the competitive nature of the activities and the opportunity to relax and talk to their peers outside of an academic environment.
Overall the event was an outstanding success and something SYP would like to repeat each year to support and engage our year 11 pupils.
(Year 11 Student) “The rifle shooting was my favourite part and it was nice to talk to some of the other students.”
Recently our RE teachers, Jess and Katie took the year 9/10 group on a journey to Saint Giles Church, to discover new things about religion.
Each student walked around, looking for things that interested them, some finding bibles and some finding wall art and stained glass windows, one student finding a pulpit and read from the bible that was placed there. Everyone found something that captured their interest and learning how the church was run.
One student pointed out something that was of particularly interest ‘the church’s prayer board’, the place where the church puts up guides on how to pray giving examples of prayers. Some of the students decided they would give praying a try, standing with their hands together, kneeling, displaying huge respect for the church.
After a great time at the church, the students climbed back onto the minibus expecting to go back to school only to find out they were off out for lunch as a treat for good behaviour.
Back at school the students discussed what they would like to do on their next RE trip giving some valuable suggestions to Katie and Jess.
With this trip over and the next one in planning, the students continue their efforts in Religious Education.
Assistant Teaching Assistant
Throughout the afternoons of the 23rd and the 24th of March two teams went head to head in a bake off in support of Comic Relief. The two teams were the year 9/10 team and the year 11 team, both putting in a valiant effort to support the cause and create the best tasting and looking cakes that they could muster, in hopes of winning an extra ten pounds to their sponsor money.
With all students armed with sponsor forms, to get themselves sponsored for Comic Relief in hopes to raise as much as they possibly can, each one coming back with an impressive effort, and a smile on their faces ready to raise some more.
On Thursday afternoon the bake off commenced, with a brief intro to comic relief we set both teams off planning their designs, making shopping lists, going and buying what they needed and baking plain cupcakes for them to decorate the next day. Both teams went for two different designs of cup-cakes. The year 9/10 team made “emoji” cupcakes, and the year 11 team making a “Larry the unicorn” cake out of different cupcakes put together and iced all over.
After two afternoons of designing and creating the cupcakes, the judgement day had arrived with Cheryl and Linda arriving to judge the cup-cakes on their looks, taste and creativity. Both teams made great cup-cakes, and both made an amazing effort with presenting their cakes, but in the end there could only be one winner of the ten pound sponsor money. With both teams on the edge of their seats, eager to find out who had won. The winning team ended up being the year 11s, with their “Larry the unicorn” cup-cakes.
All students enjoyed the competition as well as staff, and we all look forward to the next event like this.
Assistant Teaching Assistant (ATA)
Congratulations to our London Marathon runners!
On Sunday 23rd April, ten London Marathon runners successfully crossed the finish line for Shaftesbury Young People. Our fastest runner was able to complete his run under 3 hours and 30minutes. They all finished according to their predicted times and there were no significant injuries.
After the marathon, runners came to visit our stall at St. James’s Park, where they could enjoy some refreshments and meet with their family and friends. They shared their experience with our volunteer’s team, who took a few pictures with them before they headed home for a well-deserved rest.
Not only have they made an incredible effort running 26.2 miles, but they have also fundraised an amazing £14,617 for our young people! Besides, six runners have even exceeded their initial pledge, the top three raising over £1,500 each!
Thank you to all of our runners for such a wonderful day.
Looking forward to 2018 London Marathon!
Siblings United #SiblingsDay campaign aims to support and encourage meaningful contact of siblings while in care and adoption. Please donate to help us continue this important work.
Shaftesbury Young People’s Siblings United Programme has joined the efforts of The Siblings Day Foundation to amplify the celebration of Siblings Day on Monday 10 April 2017, to give a voice to young people and encourage meaningful contact with siblings while in care or adoption.
10 April is marked as National Siblings Day in the United States, however, it is not federally recognised like Mother's and Father's Day and it is not recognised in the UK. Dr. Bob Goldfield, CEO of Shaftesbury Young People says, “We want to advocate and give our voice to Siblings Day to highlight the strong bond that exists between siblings is vital for children’s overall health and emotional wellbeing and we must not overlook this important bond which lasts a lifetime.”
The NSPCC Report, “Children who go missing from care” established that one of the main reasons why children run away from foster care or children’s homes was to see their siblings. This was also echoed by the article “Huge surge in instances of children going missing from foster care” reporting 6,596 children ran away to see their family.
The Shaftesbury Young People’s Siblings United programme reunites brothers and sisters who are separated by care. The programme advocates and facilitates ongoing contact while they are living apart. The project activities involve reuniting siblings through residential camps and one day events that provide a mixture of adventure activities and aspects of mindfulness. One young person says about the camps, “One of the best experiences – it is a family.” Another says, “Camp has been amazing, I just cannot fully describe how friendly, caring, patient and understanding the staff has been. The cook was brilliant. And the kids, lets just say that there was a huge variety – the mischievous, the cunning, the relentless and the jolly. If you do not come to camp you are completely out of your mind!”
There were 70,440 looked after children in England at 31 March 2016, an increase of 5% compared to 2012. There are no official figures for the number of siblings groups in care, however, the 2015 report by Family Rights Group,” What happens to siblings in the care system? “was the first report that established that 49.5% of siblings were when they entered the care system in England. The 2009 Ofsted Report,” Keeping in Touch” highlighted that 56% had contact with a brother or sister at least once a month while 12% had no contact with any siblings.
Social Workers and Foster Carers who have been on the camps have seen a definite improvement in the temperament of the children in their care. One Foster Carer says, “…learnt more from attending the camps over the summer than their sessions over the past 6 months at CAMHS.”
We are asking everyone who has a sibling to help us promote Siblings United Siblings Day Campaign by posting and tweeting a picture of themselves with their sibling(s) using #SiblingsDay on Monday 10th April 2017. You can also help support us by donating to our campaign to help reunite siblings separated by care http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/siblingsday
Importance of Siblings Relationships in other countries
In many parts of India, Mauritius and Nepal and by the diaspora from these backgrounds that have settled elsewhere, “Raksha Bandhan” (bond of protection) or simply “rakhi”(sacred thread) is a Hindu religious and secular festival to celebrate the love and responsibilities within the sibling relationship. It has also been observed by Sikhs in Pakistan. The day is observed the day of the full moon of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Shravana (usually falling in the month of August).
In Sanskrit Raksha means protection and Bandhan ‘to tie’. So, Raksha Bandhan means "knot of protection" During the ceremony, along with a prayer for his prosperity and happiness, a sister ties a rakhi on her brother's wrist as a symbol of sister’s love towards brother. Likewise, a brother promises to protect and take care of his sister under all circumstances. To many, festival rakhi transcends beyond biological relationships and extends to diverse ethnic groups and ritually lay emphasis on harmony and love.
In some parts of the United States, 10 April is marked as National Siblings Day. However, this day is not federally recognised as Mother's Day and Father's Day. The Siblings Day Foundation has been advocating for this day to have similar status and Mother’s and Father’s Day. Siblings Day Foundation was incorporated in 1997 and achieved non-profit status in 1999. It was Claudia Evart who set out to honour the memory of her brother and sister who died in childhood through marking a day for Siblings as a holiday. This proposal was supported by the then U.S. Representative for New York's 12th congressional district, Carolyn Maloney. On 26 September 2005, she introduced it into the official Congressional Record of the United States Congress. The Siblings Day Foundation has also being working with the UN Estonian Ambassador, Sven Jürgenson and the President from the Republic of Estonia UN Resolution on Siblings Day.
The intention behind the siblings day no matter where in the world is to celebrate and honour this relationship. Siblings United Programme would like to join The Siblings Day Foundation in their efforts. Hence we picked the same date, 10 April, so we can amplify the voice of those children and young people who do not have the opportunity to see their siblings everyday.