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The Birches

The Birches offers a different environment to our other children’s homes and delivers a therapeutically centred home, based in North West England, aimed at nurturing the social, emotional and moral needs of its young people, who all attend Pontville School.

The Birches offers a different environment to our other children’s homes and delivers a therapeutically centred home, based in Lancashire, aimed at nurturing the social, emotional and moral needs of its young people, who typically have speech, language and communication needs, as well as other conditions such as ASD and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Working in partnership with each young person, their families and other professionals, we endeavour to enhance each young person’s achievement possibilities, raise levels of self-confidence and self-belief and create opportunities to learn, develop and achieve.

We provide a complete 52 week wrap around care and are partnered with the following Witherslack Group school.

 

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Welcome from the Home Manager

I am Nicki and I have been the manager at The Birches since we opened in 2004. The young people that live at The Birches are unique and have a lot of different needs.  The staff are energetic and are always looking at ways to help the young people learn and grow into happy young adults. We won’t just tell you what is happening, instead we will work very closely with you to find out what you want to do, where you want to go and even what you want to eat.

We know that it can be scary moving into a new home as there are a lot of changes. When you move into The Birches you will be given photos of the staff, the home and a schedule of routines (if this is what you like).  We spend a lot of time finding out all about you before so you will find it a bit easier (e.g.  you may prefer certain washing powder so your clothes smell the same as they did as before or you may have a certain way you like the order of food to be laid out on your plate.)  We understand that even the small things matter.

With The Birches personalised support, children’s communication and life skills develop, so they can more fully engage in their learning and living. By developing relationships with the young people and affording them individualised support we make a significant impact – often when they have been unable to thrive elsewhere.  All of the experienced and established staff members are passionate about the quality of service we provide and they ensure individual plans enable the progression and growth of each young person we are entrusted with.

We want all of the young people to learn how to do things that help them when they are grown ups; shopping, cooking, etc. Nobody needs to worry about this as we know that the young people find this hard but the staff will help you step by step. All anybody can do is their best and we will help you to realise yours.

The Birches is a place full of character, fun and positivity, where everyone is treated as an individual who is part of our team.

At A Glance

  • All children’s homes have high staff ratios which allows for the provision of highly personalised programmes for all young people. At night time there is a waking night staff and a member of staff sleeping-in.
  • High quality home environment with every young person having a bedroom with en-suite facilities.
  • In-home therapeutic support including speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, educational psychologists and psychiatrists.
  • Highest level of safeguarding implemented in every home and supported by Witherslack Group central safeguarding support staff.
  • Each home is supported by Witherslack Group’s Clinical Team who provide a combination of direct targeted interventions with young people, staff support and training, and attendance at statutory reviews.
  • An education champion present in each children’s home to facilitate strong coordination between school and home.

Our Care

Care Model

For children who require 52 week care, we are proud to be able to provide them with a home environment that will give them the stability, support and encouragement they need. We offer an integrated package of high quality 52 week residential care and education, in conjunction with our schools, that consistently allows children to realise their potential, both academically and socially.

Each children’s home provides a superior group living experience within a welcoming and warm domestic setting. Young people have their own en-suite rooms and all homes are furnished and equipped to the highest of standards.

Our passionate, experienced and skilled staff team support each young person to develop their social and independence skills, which allows them to consistently achieve and develop. Additional support is available, as required, from our comprehensive team of therapeutic professionals.

Communication

All young people are supported in maintaining contact with parents/carers, family, friends and other significant people in their lives. The nature of this contact is determined by the young person’s Placement Plan and is agreed with the placing authority. We are able to negotiate additional support on an individual basis if required; for example, by facilitating attendance at meetings and providing supported travel.

Activities

Young people are actively encouraged and supported to participate in a range of activities which take account of their race, culture, language, religion, interests and abilities.  Witherslack Group Children’s Homes strive to integrate the young people in our care into activities and groups within the local community. Young People develop their confidence and self-esteem from participation in activities they enjoy, learn how to use local amenities and have the opportunity to widen their social experiences by mixing with other young people outside of the home environment.

Our Education

24 hour curriculum

We believe that in order to maximise educational opportunities it is essential that teaching and care staff work co-operatively in an attempt to provide a meaningful and relevant 24 hour curriculum. Education is not limited merely to the classroom; education is a continuous process which occurs throughout the waking day. That is not to say that education can not be enjoyable or fun; there are many educational activities which occur naturally in our work with young people.

A simple trip to the shops is an excellent opportunity to practice skills in both numeracy and literacy. The use of money is an obvious example of supporting number work and encouraging young people to read signs and notices in shops also promotes social literacy. Many of these tasks are routinely completed, whilst others may need to be engineered in order to address specific deficit areas in a young person’s educational development.

We recognise the importance of staff working together co-operatively with care and teaching staff, who liaise on a regular basis. Key Workers have regular planned meetings with each young person’s teacher/tutor in order to review Individual Care and Education Plans (ICEPs). These close working relationships are designed to promote multi-disciplinary working and a consistent approach to the education and care of young people.

Social Development

Through our approach to improving a young person’s social relationship skills, we recognise that social development cannot be separated from other learning experiences whether they be aesthetic, creative, moral, physical, spiritual, recreational, etc. Moreover, formal learning, social and leisure clubs, ad hoc activities, group work, and indeed all situations and environments within and external to the Home are appropriate to enabling children and young people to improve their social skills.

Our Therapeutic Support

Assessment

We undertake a holistic baseline assessment during the first 6 weeks of placement to ensure our initial planning is correct and to take account of the response of the young person to our provision. This involves a multi-agency team of therapists, teachers, residential support staff and parents/carers. We use Conner’s Profiling, standardised English and Mathematics assessments and speech and language and psychological assessment. Where appropriate, we involve our clinical psychiatrist in this process. This gives reliable and comprehensive baseline assessment enabling us to accurately assess progress, progression and ‘value added’.

Our Therapeutic Model

Our commitment to delivering outstanding therapeutic support to all young people is based on attachment principles. We believe that unless a young person is able to feel emotionally secure they are less likely to fulfil their personal, social and educational potential.

We have an extensive Clinical Team which is able to offer young people within our schools and children’s homes a truly personalised and comprehensive package of therapeutic support. Each of our children’s homes is supported by our own on-site therapists for a minimum of two days a week, with further support, as required, from our Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Mental Health Practitioners, Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists.

Our unique approach to supporting young people allows us to achieve uniquely outstanding outcomes, which in turn enable our young people to go on and aspire and succeed in their futures.

Integrated Therapeutic Provisions

In addition to children’s homes we also offer Integrated Therapeutic Learning Centres which provide an individualised approach to meeting a young person’s therapeutic, education and care needs. Young people attending the Integrated Therapeutic Provision live in the children’s homes, which are located on-site. There are close links between the home and the onsite learning centre to ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved for each young person.

This fully integrated care, education and therapeutic provision consists of a children’s home and separate learning centre all on one site. The learning centres are staffed by a range of qualified Teachers and Teaching Assistants and offer the full national curriculum with highly personalised and structured educational support.

Contact us for more information