Esther Outreach is a voluntarily-run department of the church that provides practical support, advice and advocacy to ‘Children Looked After and Care Leavers’ working in conjunction with Croydon Council within a friendly, safe environment where they are equipped with the right tools to develop their independent skills.
Background – a member of the church working for Croydon Leaving Care Service, approached the ministers of the church and talked about the gap that existed with young people struggling with their independence skills when due to leave the care system. We looked at how we could support.
‘Esther Outreach was launched November 2016.’
The Team are all members within the church: Social Worker’s –CLA, LCS and Mental Health Service, Teacher, Qualified Chef, Family Support Worker, Engineer, Drugs Worker, Medical Doctor, Careers Advisor and Accountant. These are professionals working at an exceptional standard of aptitude, skills and expertise in their field.
Esther Outreach currently work with the following Services aged 15 – 25yrs old:
1. Early Help Service.
2. Children Looked After Service.
3. Leaving Care Service.
Esther Outreach was delivering workshops at the ‘Turnaround Centre’ twice a month. Men’s group every 1st Wednesday of each month and the women and young mum’s group every 3rd Wednesday of each month.
MEAL: The young people were provided with nutritious home cooked food with dessert every session.
January 2020 –We launched ‘Cooking Skill’s on a limited budget every 2nd week of the month at the Cherryhub, training kitchen in Croydon.
March 2020 -Due to Covid-19 Pandemic the Esther Outreach was not able to socialise in a building.
On 15th July Esther Outreach began delivering online workshops through Zoom every 3rd Wednesday of each month to both male and female young people.
WORKSHOP’S SINCE COMMENCING ON-LINE:
- July 2020 Games & Quiz
- Aug 2020 The effects of Covid-19 on the Mental Health of young people in the UK.
- Sept 2020 Career Resilience in times of uncertainty
- Oct 2020 Cooking on a limited budget.
- Nov 2020 Rights on Arrest & Stop and Search.
- Dec 2020 Welfare Rights Overview + Q & A.
- Jan 2021 Goal Setting & Motivation.
- Feb 2021 Health: Sleep Hygiene, Diet and Exercise.
- Mar 2021 Dependency and Addiction.
- Apr 2021 Mental Health: Protecting your Mind and your Emotions.
- May 2021 Crime and Criminal Justice
- June 2021 Cooking on a limited budget
- July 2021 Money Management Part 1
- Aug 2021 Money Management Part 2
- Sept 2021 Careers
Attendance – The average number of young people attending each month on Zoom = 22
Young people engaging on-line from outside of London i.e:
Esther Outreach also offers:
LISTENING EAR & ADVICE
- Telephone calls made to young people to check on their wellbeing every month.
- Advice given and signed posted to appropriate Services.
- Liaising with the allocated worker regarding any concerns or issues raised with the young people.
- Young person was supported to complete C.V and College application form.
- Esther Outreach Supported a young mum with food shopping during lockdown.
- Volunteer met young person in Bromley Library offering support with an assignment she found difficult.
- Young person supported to complete their personal statement for University.
- Character reference written to support a young person with her immigration status.
- Play area set-up for the young children whilst young mums engaged in the workshop.
Friendships: The young people have been able to socialise and developed very good meaningful relationships.
Young people from all cultural backgrounds socialising together beautiful picture of unity in the community.
Young people with learning needs have gained confidence communicating and engaging with others and having a sense of belonging, for example, one particular young person with learning needs would not engage when he first joined. Now he always joins the sessions early engaging with everyone. Feedback from the staying put carer highlighted that he looks forward to attending every month.
We have young people that joined the first workshop who have remained involved, including a young mum that could not speak English when she first started. However, she brought her friend who was also a young mum to help interpret. The young person started when her child was one years old, he will be going to school this year. We supported the young person to access the ESOL course and now speaks fluent English.
Equipping young people to be mentors to their peers.
Through the Esther Outreach one of the young people had the opportunity to work in an ‘Elderly Care Home’ to gain work experience. The young person was later successful in securing full-time employment in January 2020.
Esther Outreach also arranged for another young person to gain work experience in a ‘Hair and Beauty Salon’.
A young person mentioned earlier who was supported with her assignment – recently passed her degree in (Criminology, Policing and Forensics) and is currently being supported to secure a job in the Police Force.
Another young person aged (22) whose case is now closed to the Leaving Care Service was invited to join one of the Esther Outreach on-line workshops. The young person required help to get back into education. The young person was supported to complete an online college application form and was successful in enrolling into a Health & Social Care course last year –Sept 2020.
Feedback from young people:
- “I enjoy coming to the Esther Outreach, socialising meeting new friends.”
- “I find the workshops informative, and it will help me in the future.”
- “I love the good food.”
- “Sitting together and eating is like sitting with family, I haven’t experienced this in over 2 years.”
- “The volunteers are friendly and caring.”
- “I am so glad my worker referred me, I’ve made some good friends, we are both from the same country(Albania)
- “I don’t have any child care, I was glad I could bring my son.”
Trips/Outings: Summer Holidays.
Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Picnic in the park, restaurants, etc.
Esther Outreach is also in the Local Offer for Care Leavers/Looked after Children 2021/22.
How to send a referral:
Please send your referral to firstname.lastname@example.org