Children and Young People
Keeping young people active
Over the past year, we have launched lots of initiatives and schemes to help improve physical activity amongst our children and young people. We have also focused on aiming to reduce obesity and improve emotional wellbeing. Here are some examples:
- ‘Physical literacy’ involves planned active story-time sessions with a greater emphasis on early years aged 0-5 years old. This scheme is based on the premise that if physical literacy begins from birth there will be greater participation in physical activity in later life.
- A Play Day/Playing Out scheme was held during the summer of 2018 at Rydal Penrhos playing fields. 25 different organisations and services helped on the day. We had a huge response with over 1,000 children and 600 adults registered for the event with 32 different play activities.
- Our Holiday Lunch is currently in its second year in conjunction with the Welsh Government’s School Holiday Enhancement Project (SHEP). Four schools within the County participated in SHEP throughout the summer holidays for around 80 children.
Conwy Youth Justice
A football group run by the Youth Justice Service has been set up since 2017 to offer difficult-to-reach and dis-engaged young people in the Colwyn Bay area with an opportunity to engage in positive sporting activity. The project targeted groups of youths in the area known to cause anti-social behaviour issues or who would potentially offend. Initially, the group started with low numbers. As the group has become more established over the last year, regular participants have invited their friends along and other new referrals into YJ also attended. Numbers are now regularly 20 for each session, with ages ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Other agencies are now starting to refer into the programme and even parents and carers have been known to participate too!
Aside from the football session, regular attendees have been offered a Conwy gym pass giving them access to a range of gym facilities, swimming and fitness classes. This has seen 20 passes handed out with clear improvements in young people’s health, fitness and confidence levels. Anti-social behaviour was reported to have reduced by 30% six months after the setting up of the project with the football sessions being seen as a contributing factor to this.
We are currently commencing another football/diversionary project in the Llandudno area with TRAC, Education, and Social Care partners through Ysgol John Bright, where the majority of the young people identified attend. This will initially be a four-week project to establish engagement and deliver face to face sessions to young people to address anti-social behaviour and potential offending. We will also be running football sessions to engage them in sports and divert them from offending.
Sports and Activities Girls’ Group
We are currently delivering a weekly girls’ group that offers sports and social activities. The young people participating in the group are often not engaging with mainstream services and provisions, such as youth and sports clubs and their behaviours can form barriers to them accessing education and training opportunities. We aim to re-engage these young people through the medium of sport and in turn this will build and establish trust and positive experiences within the group. There have been some challenges to initially re-engaging these young people who for so long had been disengaged. Through getting a small number of girls involved we have been able to change mind-sets and the numbers involved are growing. Youth Justice staff can begin to address anti-social behaviour and potential offending. Young people are able to strengthen their skills base, communication skills, problem solving and self-control. Physical health and well-being is positively impacted through exercise and activity.
Supporting Young People with Disabilities
‘K’ is a young person with learning difficulties who has been supported by our Disabilities Community Support Team and subsequently the Participation Team. She is currently studying within the independent living skills department at Coleg Llandrillo. This department caters for young people who have mild to severe learning disabilities along with social and emotional difficulties. ‘K’ has been elected onto the Welsh Youth Parliament to represent people with disabilities, which is a fantastic achievement. She has a wide-ranging manifesto which includes topics which are important to her as an individual and other young people with disabilities living in Wales, such as more activities for young people with disabilities and improvements on wheelchair access. ‘K’ has also been recently featured in a local newspaper article which reported on her successful election onto the Youth Parliament.
Supporting People with Mental Ill-Health
Learning 4 Recovery and Wellbeing
During 2017-18 we set up the Learning 4 Recovery and Wellbeing programme, the approach of which would allow participants who are over 18 years old and affected by mental ill-health to:
- Foster hope and the possibility of reaching personal goals and ambitions;
- Take back control of their symptoms and life;
- Develop valued roles and relationships;
- Find meaning and purpose;
- Have the opportunity to do what matters in order to build a life beyond illness.
The brochure, created to promote the courses available within the programme, has been updated on a quarterly basis with input from the third sector and other relevant agencies. There have been challenges along the way, related to sourcing activities and schemes and funding the brochure, however these have been overcome through collaborative working.
- We will be looking at ways to embed the programme into regular practice so that more people become aware of it and push it into the harder-to-reach areas of the county.
- We aim to co-produce the programme with service users so that it is responsive to people’s needs and evaluated effectively.
- We will look at more sustainable funding and influencing commissioning plans so that the programme is widely available and a key component for early intervention care in the future.
- We hope to use the structure of the brochure to develop something similar for young people, adapting the content to address issues faced by those under 18 years of age. The aim is to engage with young people in their own communities, supporting them to increase their social networks and emotional resilience.
Collaborative working with partner agencies
We have been working alongside partner agencies such as North Wales Police (NWP) and Health to create a Section 135/136 protocol. This protocol is in relation to caring for people in crisis under the Mental Health Act and aims to ensure that people in mental distress are responded to swiftly and appropriately.
This protocol has made a difference in a variety of ways:
- People who have been detained under Section 136 are responded to quickly and this has had a positive effect on waiting times;
- The process and an individual’s pathway through the process is now more transparent;
- Communication has improved between partner agencies and we have developed an understanding of the roles of all agencies;
- All participants have developed a further understanding of the law and human rights;
- It has highlighted patterns of detention and areas to improve.
There have been some challenges in terms of understanding of the law and procedural differences amongst agencies partners. We are encouraged to see that multi-agency working is making a positive difference.
Joint Intergenerational Participation Project
Raising drug and alcohol awareness
Every year Heads of Service, Elected Members and the Conwy People’s Partnership members meet with the Conwy Youth Council and the Adult Involvement Network to listen to feedback on the work undertaken by the two groups, consult with each other on a chosen subject and vote on work priorities for the year ahead. In 2018, the chosen work priority for the two groups was raising drug and alcohol awareness.
As a result of joint working, the group developed a series of drug and alcohol awareness posters which were presented at the Annual General Meeting of the Conwy Peoples Partnership in September 2018. We hope the posters will raise awareness, offer advice and reduce the harm and effect caused by substance misuse.
To develop an understanding and knowledge of the subject, a joint training session was delivered by CAIS, a registered charity and provider of services in North Wales. The session covered different types of substance misuse and the harm and effect caused by drug and alcohol misuse. A consultation session with North Wales Police followed; they highlighted how substance misuse can affect crime rates and how money is spent to tackle this issue.
Moving forward we would like to continue to raise further awareness by advertising our posters via social media, schools, libraries, voluntary sector organisations and community settings.
Some of the messages created:
Making our wellbeing services more accessible
We have made some changes to the way we work to make it easier for Conwy citizens to find information, advice and assistance about wellbeing activities in their local area. Wellbeing Officers now work alongside our Single Point of Access (SPOA) team on a daily basis to take incoming calls as they occur, meaning that there are no delays in responding to queries.
A telephone number and e-mail address have been set up for people to contact the Community Wellbeing team direct, rather than via SPOA, and a team Facebook page has been set up to share news on events and services available locally.
We are looking at promoting our advice and information service further still, particularly to internal Social Care teams and GPs who are looking at prescribing social activities for their patients. We will also look to increase our referral rates to ensure that as many people as possible can take advantage of the activities on offer in Conwy.
Supporting people who live with dementia
With dementia now being the largest cause of death in the UK, it is important that we continually raise awareness of the condition and focus on what living with dementia is like for the person, as well as those who care for them. Conwy’s Community Wellbeing Team brought the Virtual Dementia Tour Bus to the county during March 2019 which gave unpaid carers, loved ones or friends of people living with dementia a realistic insight into what it is like to live with the condition. The experience provides someone with a healthy brain the closest possible experience of what dementia might be like, with all the vulnerability and confusion that the illness brings. It is hoped that delegates would come away with more of an understanding of the condition and associated behaviours, and feel able to offer better support and understanding to those they care for.
This post is also available in: Welsh