CAN Training Investigates: Are Funded Apprenticeships right for your Staff?

One of the most common queries we get at CAN Training is from Residential Children’s Home Managers or Business Owners who want to understand the different funding routes available in order for their staff to achieve the Level 3 Residential Childcare Diploma. The funding options are forever changing and can seem really complicated so we thought we’d highlight some of the main differences between funded and non-funded routes and hopefully help you to consider what will work best in your organisation.

From May 2017 the face of Apprenticeships changed and one of the main changes was that Non-Levy Paying organisations (those with an annual wage bill of less than 3 million per year) were required to pay a 10% contribution to the total cost of the Apprenticeship. This was then reduced to 5% from April 2019. At the same time Apprenticeships were being changed from frameworks to ‘newly improved’ standards. With this came a significant price increase. The cost of a Residential Childcare Apprenticeship framework was £2500 so employers found themselves paying £250 per staff member and more recently £125 when the contribution was changed to 5%. The framework consisted of the Level 3 Diploma in Residential Childcare plus the requirement for Maths, English and ICT functional skills unless the staff member already had GCSE A-C.

The new standard was then introduced namely the ‘The Level 4 Children, Young People and Families Standard’ and the cost of this Apprenticeship was set at £6000 therefore employers would now be required to pay £600 per staff member (or £300 after April 2019) This is due to the fact that the standard is a Level 4. Although it does still include the mandatory level 3 Residential Childcare Diploma, there is also a requirement for additional work to evidence the staff member working at a Level 4. This is demonstrated through an End Point Assessment Process; which learners are required to pass in order to achieve their Apprenticeship. Whilst this tends not to be an issue for more experienced staff, those who are new to Residential Childcare will find the Level 4 more challenging so consideration must be made regarding staff suitability to the course. There is also the requirement for Maths and English functional skills unless learners have prior exemption.

A big stumbling block for employers however has come with the introduction of the 20% off the job training requirement. This had always been a feature with the frameworks however this is now being heavily enforced with the new standards and training providers are required to record this and ensure employers are fulfilling their duties with regards to this.

A full-time member of staff on the Level 4 Children, Young People and Families Standard will need to be away from their normal working environment for 6.5 hours per week. This means they cannot be included on their normal shift meaning another staff member would need to cover this staff members shift. Many employers have found this prohibitive as not only are they paying for the Apprenticeship (either a contribution if non-levy or the full cost if levy paying) but they are also needing to factor in the time that staff member will be ‘off the shop floor’ so to speak. Based on a £10 per hour role this would cost an organisation a further £3,380 a year per staff member on an Apprenticeship. Some employers have decided in the face of this that Apprenticeships are not best suited to their organisation and have sought other options.

So what are the alternatives?

Despite funded qualifications being initially attractive from a financial point of view it is still worth considering stand-alone diplomas purchased commercially for your staff.


  • Staff will only work on the mandatory qualification they require which is the Level 3 Residential Diploma. There are no other elements to distract or add pressure to staff
  • Staff can work at their own pace and can be certificated as soon as they complete the work which can be helpful for your OFSTED compliance requirements. With Apprenticeships learners must be on programme for 12-18 months and cannot be certificated before this even if the work is complete.
  • There is no requirement for Functional Skills which many staff find challenging and stressful.
  • There is no requirement for ‘off the job training’. Staff will complete their Level 3 Diploma whilst working on their normal shift. Their assessor will use observations, professional discussion and expert witness testimony from line managers to meet many of the requirements of the diploma.


Clearly all organisations vary in size, budgets and resources available and while the Apprenticeships work well for some, other organisations find the commercial route much more straight forward to navigate, less stressful for staff and perhaps in the long term more cost effective! 

Level 3 Residential Childcare Diploma with CAN Training currently costs £1750 which can be split over the duration of the course (usually 12 months) if necessary. This would be a cost of just £145 per month and would include face to face visits with an assessor every 8 weeks plus unlimited telephone and email support and 24/7 access to an online portfolio and resource library.

At CAN Training we pride ourselves on being specialists in Residential Childcare. We stick to what we know and all of our assessors have occupational competence and are best placed to support your staff with their Level 3 Diploma and beyond.

If you would like to discuss your requirements and seek some advice on the best route for your organisation please contact Heather or Ann at CAN Training Limited on 0800 177 7733

New Research Shows that Social Workers Remain Cold Towards Hot-Desking

Hot-desking began to creep in in the early 2000’s and has continued stealthily ever since. However, it is still not well-received by the profession: according to a recent survey by Community Care, 86 percent of practitioners consider it incompatible with the job. The negative impact on peer support and efficiency generally are key themes that arise again and again. For example, Munro has talked about “the expert team” and how hot-desking has the potential to disrupt and erode that valuable resource; and Biggart et al (2016) talk about the workplace as the “secure base” which enables the team to emotionally scaffold the social worker to function effectively. The team, embodied in the workplace provides the necessary immediate and informal supervision required for effective functioning. When this support is lacking, this contributes to the burnout experienced by so many social workers.

Hot-desking is incompatible simply from a practical perspective

Anecdotal reports from within the profession would suggest that aside from these organisational psychodynamics, hot-desking is incompatible simply from a practical perspective. The original notion was that the majority of the role was “out in the field” and therefore desks (and parking spaces) were not necessary on a 1-1 basis. However this money-saving idea coincided with a growing emphasis on recording, meaning workers were increasingly desk-bound but without the actual physical space to occupy.

However, to what extent this was and is a reality has so far been unclear. A recent study (Disney et al, 2019) looked to clarify the reality of contemporary practice in terms of how sedentary the role has become and how much out of hours work takes place, by utilising GPS technology as a research tool for the first time in social work. Their goal was to be able to represent participants’ mobilities and, using mixed methods of mapping techniques from geography alongside supplemental qualitative data such as interviews and diaries, they set out to examine the daily patterns of workers in the field of child protection.

Blurring of spatial boundaries between the home and work

They argue that in social work, mobility is especially prized: being ‘on the move’ is posited as desirable because it automatically infers that more time is being spent with children and families; and suggests productivity. However, this also leads to a blurring of spatial boundaries (between the home and work) and increased permeation of the role into the home environment. Not only does this have implications for worker’s wellbeing emotionally but it also erodes employment rights when time and space within the working day to complete the tasks of the role is no longer afforded. The authors explore the ideas within social theory and political philosophy and highlight that, contrary to the notion that mobility automatically confers “progress, freedom and wellbeing”, the extent to which mobility can be “coercive and disciplined”, is often overlooked.  The complexities and nuances of mobility and stillness are often not considered, they argue, which in turn leads to a glossing over of the complexities of the social work role. In particular, mobility and stillness are inextricably linked with emotion and affect: the authors argue that whilst some aspects of mobility may produce positive affective associations (such as a sense of freedom, for example) they can also be corrosive and detrimental to wellbeing.

Hot-desking generates additional anxiety

Their study revealed a worrying (and reluctantly received) seepage of work beyond office time and space and that the mobile working practices often so prized are increasingly melding the already nebulous boundaries that social workers experience. ‘Flexible working’, often hailed as the answer to inefficiency has the undesired effect of rendering overwork as the “norm”; whilst initially the concept of not being tied to a desk may be desirable, what starts as optional can become expected practice. There is the danger it becomes imbued with ‘toxic’ elements: such as the permeating of the home with the stresses of the job; so that there is nowhere left untainted or that affords peace of mind. Ironically, one of the study’s participants from a designated hot-desking site was the only one with no access to remote technology meaning that not only did she not have the means or the space to complete her work but that she did not even have the means in her own space. Rather than liberating her from this established but unwelcome practice, it merely generated additional anxiety.

Social workers are increasingly displaced from the organisation

This study also found that rather than being stifling and imprisoning, a day in ‘the office’ was well received by many as it offered some respite from the constant movement of visits; although at the same time such days could be physically and emotionally draining. Interestingly, one participant reflected upon the physical distance of one child (which had increased as a result of the worker moving to a central hot-desking site) as affording a welcome emotional distance. One wonders if hot-desking creates a scenario where workers are increasingly displaced from the organisation, thus allowing it (the organisation) to take less and less responsibilities for the wellbeing of its members.

In summary, this paper makes three important contributions to the field and reinforces existing research into hot-desking, through its exploration of mobility in social work.

  • Firstly, in its exploration of the complexities and nuances of mobility and the findings that those workers who were mobile reported that their work was increasingly encroaching on their domestic spaces and ‘contaminating’ the home.
  • Secondly, in its assertion that the dominant discourse of mobility within social work as desirable and essential for good practice is reductionist: such discourses only perpetuate and reinforce the undesirable aspects of hot-desking; whilst also denying the importance of activities that take place when workers are ‘not moving’.  In reality ‘Sedentary’ time as is often regarded as a welcome relief and when unobtainable (as can often be the case with hot-desking environments), capable of generating anxiety.
  • It also introduces an innovative methodological approach which, if used with appropriate safeguards (and not as an efficiency measure), is argued to be a useful tool for developing understanding about other areas of practice.


Disney, T., Warwick, L., Ferguson, H., Leigh, J., Singh Cooner, T., Beddoee, L., Jones, P., Osborne, T., 2019. “Isn’t it funny the children that are further away we don’t think about as much?”: Using GPS to explore the mobilities and geographies of social work and child protection practice.

Biggart, L., Ward, L., Cook, L., Stride, C., Schofield, G., Corr, P., Fletcher, C., Bowler, J., Jordan, P., Bailey, S., 2016. Emotional Intelligence and Burnout in Child and Family Social Work: Implications for policy and practice. 

Stevenson, L., 2019. Hotdesking not compatible with social work, 86% of social workers say.

Munro, E., 2019., Munro: Managed hotdesking for social workers can work.

Active Listening Skills and Person Centred Approach in Social Work

Social workers practice not only in the traditional social care services (both Adults & Children & Young People), but also in schools; the military; third sector, voluntary services and local government agencies and legislative bodies. In fact, social workers can be found anywhere and everywhere there are people who need the help or assistance in addressing personal or social problems.

A ‘shared journey’; based on a positive working relationship

Social work practice seeks to help those assessed as in need to improve their situation through assessment, planning, intervention and supervision. However, effective delivery of support and services can only be done after the social worker manages to engage the individual (and family) and build a rapport with him or her as a ‘shared journey’; based on a positive working relationship (look at Systemic Practice).

As such in the ‘beginning process’, it is vital for the social worker to engage and secure an individual’s trust to bring the helping relationship to a greater height. But how can this be achieved and what do we need to demonstrated in practice?

Social work engagement skills

Two areas that social workers must be competent and demonstrate in practice on a day to day basis includes the ability to promote active listening skills and adopt a person centred approach (this includes when working in Child Protection or Safeguarding).

Below we have broken down these social work ‘buzz words’ and have offered guidance on how they can be adopted and promoted in front-line practice. We’ve also provided an excellent resource on ‘Social Work Engagement Skills’ that practitioners can download for free.

Active listening

Active listening is a communication technique that is used in social work, counselling, training and conflict resolution. It is a great (and essential) technique to promote empowerment and engagement. This document offers a good guide to help develop and understand active listening.

Person Centred Approach

The ‘person-centred’ approach was developed by Carl Rogers in the 1950s in the field of psychotherapy. It’s use emphasises the importance of creating a positive relationship and environment, focusing on:

  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Genuineness (congruence)
  • Unconditional Positive Regard

Download resource

What does ‘good’ reflective supervision look like?

One of the most dynamic and positive elements of social work is the fact that we’re not in this alone. The social work community is a supportive network of practitioners who can lean on each other to develop good practice across the UK. Part of that reliance and collaboration is ensuring there are examples of good reflective supervision, so that professionals can learn from each other. Supervision is a critical process for social work, developing the structure of support for team members and co-workers. Practitioners are human beings, and so naturally need a level of guidance; after all, a service is only as good as the people who make it up. However, current practice within social work doesn’t always recognise the importance of good supervision; leaving it to become much more about case work and not looking at the professional as a whole.

Supervision involves making the time and developing the practical structure to give support to co-workers/staff.

Reflective & Effective Supervision

Supervision has many facets to it, requiring the supervisor to effectively manage their supervisee while also enabling the individual to develop their own approaches. The practitioner should be engaged with the organisation they work for, and effective supervision looks at more than just the cases they’re facing. The motivation to participate and grow will help them to approach their practice in a more positive and effective manner. If a manager can lead their team to feel more appreciated and supported as a complete individual, rather than just a cog within the overall service, it will have ripple on effects for their employee retention, satisfaction and effectiveness. Hence, it’s vital that reflective supervision considers the emotional triggers, responses and interpretations towards the situations that professionals encounter.

In order to go about this in a positive way, those in positions of leadership and responsibility need to recognise that it’s not just a process. Reflective supervision requires more than just creating a forum for reflective discussion, it’s about:

  1. A focus on relationships
  2. Creative methods to working
  3. Shared understanding of the what, why and how of reflection
  4. Consideration of outcomes of practice
  5. Discussions about evidence
  6. A focus on feedback
  7. Space to discuss feelings, thoughts, values and the impact of these on actions/practice.

It’s so valuable for managers to learn about how to supervise in an effective and reflective way, as positive leadership is the way to develop future generations of social workers and to foster a spirit of good practice. By making sure time is taken to explore a supervisee’s practice, and understand the factors which influence their practice responses, will allow teams to be constructed in more productive ways. Since, recognising the differences in emotions, assumptions and power relations will help to understand the practitioners as people.

Good reflective practice therefore needs to consider the wider context in which a social worker or care professional operates. These principles can be applied to supervision across multiple sectors; nevertheless, they are most prominent in social work. Given the nature of the work done in this sector and the vulnerability of the service users, practitioners need to feel supported and strengthened by their colleagues, line managers and supervisors. As a result, they can learn about their own practice and work on the correct areas so that overall, the service users benefit.

Objectives of Supervision

Within Social Work, it is generally accepted there are four main objectives to supervision (Morrison 2005):

  • Ensuring competent accountable practice
  • Encouraging continuing professional development
  • Offering personal support to practitioners
  • Engaging the individual practitioner within the organisation
  • These objectives are met through the main functions of supervision.

Four main functions to social work supervision

Managerial function – This is also referred to as the accountability, administrative or normative function. This is all about supervisors ensuring that the supervisee is competent in their practice and about supervision being used to monitor the quality of service provision.

Developmental function – This is also referred to as the educative or formative function. Supervisors sometimes misunderstand the developmental function and think that asking questions like ‘what training have you been on?’ or ‘what courses are you considering?’ means they have covered the developmental function. However, supervision should be developmental in itself – it should enable a practitioner’s learning by promoting adult learning processes and critical reflective practices.

Supervisors should encourage practitioners to reflect on what they have learnt from their practice within the supervision discussion.

Supportive function – This is also referred to as the restorative or pastoral function. Supervision needs to provide a supportive forum where the supervisee can discuss their concerns and explore their emotional responses to work.

Mediation function – This is also referred to as the negotiation function. This is the function of supervision which is least commonly written about. Many supervision policies don’t refer to this function. It is focused on engaging the worker with the organisation (Morrison, 2005) asserts that it’s about:

  • Negotiating and clarifying the team roles and responsibilities
  • Briefing management about resource deficits or implications
  • Allocating resources in the most efficient way
  • Representing supervisees needs to higher management
  • Consulting and briefing staff about organisational developments/information
  • Mediating or advocating between workers.

Responsibilities of the Supervisee

  • Prioritise supervision. Make it an essential part of your job role
  • A joint journey … this is about you! (or should be)
  • A chance to off load case responsibility and see guidance/support… remember, they are NOT your cases. They are the Teams
  • Focus on your future development
  • Identify areas of concerns/strengths within the setting

Responsibilities of the Supervisor

  • Maintain balance between reflection and accountability
  • Include workload considerations
  • Ensure that casework practice meets the practice standards
  • Ensure that safeguarding processes are being followed
  • Ensure issues arising from the case planning process are addressed
  • Ensure a person-centred approach to all casework discussions
  • Observe direct engagement on a planned basis at least once during each year
  • Record any case-related supervision notes appropriately.


One Stop Social has a range of resources on our website to help develop the practitioners in our community into the best collective of social workers across the country. We’re keen to ensure examples of good practice become more and more prominent, educating those new to practice about key techniques; and instructing established practitioners about the look of modern social work. If you have any resources which you think will positively contribute to this journey, do get in touch with our team.

Anti-Discriminatory Practice – Rhetoric or Reality?

I trained a long time ago when Neil Thomson’s Anti-Discriminatory Practice was the buzzword in social work and Anti-Racist social work was very much at the fore. I was always uncomfortable with the emphasis being on obvious sources of oppression and discrimination and felt that other disenfranchised groups were frequently subject to oppression without recognition from within the profession. Awareness moved on and we were increasingly encouraged to think about other groups such as those with different belief systems based upon religion or culture. However, as a social worker in a Drug and Alcohol team we were frequently frustrated by the notion that all substance-using mothers were automatically bad mothers. Whilst no doubt the lifestyle associated often had a significant impact on parenting, there were many that were able to be “good enough parents” in the context of their own personal difficulties and with appropriate support. Likewise, my experience in learning disability services was that many parents were automatically under scrutiny from the moment of conception and primarily due to their label.

Anti-discriminatory practice becomes an intellectual activity.

As society becomes more diverse, it seems we have to question even more what this means and how we can be sure we really are engaged in anti-discriminatory practice. More and more people are opting to live in increasingly diverse ways and often as a result of societal inequalities, which we social workers have always ideologically sought to advocate for. For example, more and more people are choosing to adopt alternative approaches to health or opt out of mainstream education. An increasingly aging population and same sex marriages mean that care homes face the challenge of managing uncomfortable views around sexual orientation in that context, in the same way that many older adults have experienced oppression around expression of sexuality, as the home tries to balance that with fears around safeguarding in the context of capacity and consent. The assessment frameworks we use generally apply benchmarks based on norms deriving from the mainstream, by which not all can arguably be measured. There is a danger that we might succumb to the notion that by virtue of our social work status we never discriminate because and we are committed to this belief system by virtue of our training and practice code of ethics. Anti-discriminatory practice becomes an intellectual activity and not translated to practice.

How do we as agents of the state balance the competing demands we face?

The question is, perhaps, how do we as agents of the state balance the competing demands we face? Many social workers have been increasingly uncomfortable with their role as agents of the state but justify their involvement by virtue of the role of advocating for the disenfranchised. At what point does this become untenable? Can we really truly engage in prejudice-free practice whilst hitting targets often based on research or outcomes of serious case enquiries which cannot always be appropriately extrapolated out?

Contributory Factors

Education is key, of course, so that misconceptions and prejudicial assumptions do not prevail within the profession. To that end, my guess is that we need to move on from the emphasis on anti-racist social work so as not to make assumptions about discrimination and oppression experienced by those that many be regarded as automatically privileged.

Good practice was reserved to whether we would be able to meet the budget…

I was fortunate in early practice to have a supervisor who adopted an eclectic approach to supervision, often employing psychodynamic models of supervision to reflective practice. This forum provided the opportunity to continue to discuss these issues and how they shaped my practice. However, by the end of my career, I was being supervised by an unqualified person whose remit was case management and ensuring the waiting list remained short. Therefore “good practice” was reserved to whether we would be able to meet the budget and work in such a way so as to avoid complaints. Ironically those who shouted the loudest often won and the drive at the time for personalisation meant that the younger disabled community were often able to write wish-lists about their desired lifestyle; whilst older people, from a different generation where self-advocation was less common and respect for the “cradle to grave” services, were very much oppressed. They had cultural needs and wants that played second fiddle to other more “worthy” groups.

As I recall from my practice, it was often down to the individual worker to be open minded to challenging oppression that might exist outside of other “isms” that were more easily recognised and challenged. Being out of practice and hearing more about how fringe groups within society experience prejudice and discriminatory practice first-hand tells me that sadly not much has changed. The opportunities for social workers’ assumptions to be tested increase and so our expertise at balancing advocating for the rights of the oppressed against our role as protector of the vulnerable needs to keep pace.

How can we ensure we do this?

Through education, a rethink of supervision, and less reactive practice, is my guess. The idea of user-consultation and participation needs to extend beyond those groups formally recognised as oppressed or discriminated against.  Increasingly we need to recognise that it might not just be poverty, religion, disability, or ethnicity, that renders someone disenfranchised in society but also those who are socially excluded in other ways. There are a variety of ways that people are judged for their choices as they don’t subscribe to the expected norms; arguably those needs are as valid and worthy of consideration as any other.

By an anonymous Social Worker

The Pressure from the Past: Adulthood after Abuse

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]No matter where we come from, our pasts play a large part in moulding us into the adults we become. Growing up in a foreign country can make us into natural travellers or being part of a small family will encourage us to find large groups of friends. Our childhoods don’t define our futures by any means, and we all have the ability to make our own destiny, however, the experiences we have during our formative years do leave their mark. For the children who experience abuse during their childhood or youth, moving past this trauma can be an incredibly difficult and lengthy process, however, the remnants will stick around for a long time. There are countless adults who are living with the trauma of their past in the UK, but are we giving them the support or consideration they need?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We’re by no means claiming that every adult who experienced abuse as a child is in need of support. Many go on to leave their trauma in their past and find ways to heal; however, this is not true for everyone. Some adults notice the effects their past has left of them many years after the abuse has ended, and it that demographic that we need to show our support for.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In England and Wales, 7% of adults suffered sexual or physical abuse during childhood, while 9% experienced a level of psychological abuse. That means there are thousands of adults who are trying to formulate fulfilling lives after going through a horrendous situation, but do we stop to think about them as often as we should? Sometimes, it can feel like the conversations surrounding abuse victims focusses in on victims in the immediate aftermath of abuse, or those who are still suffering. Do we recognise that this situation continues to affect them for many years? And if we do, then why does it come across that we’re not doing much for them?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”The guilt, badness and shame is always on the head of the abuser – don’t take it onto your shoulders.” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Child abuse takes many forms but will always have an impact on the mental health stability of the victim, and as with any mental health issue, there isn’t an easy fix. Some adults may never have spoken to anyone about their abuse and never reported the perpetrator; which paves the way for a whole range of unresolved emotions and a lack of closure about the experience. Survivors may have traumatic nightmares, issues with anger management or experience strong flashbacks, which will affect their ability to maintain stable relationships if not treated. The impact of childhood maltreatment can continue for so long, and can manifest in many different ways. Most adults show symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but they can also experience cognitive distortions (where you view the world in a distorted, dangerous way) or emotional distress (such as depression or anxiety). Common life events, like death, birth, marriage, or divorce may trigger the return of symptoms for a childhood sexual abuse survivor; even if they have been coping with their trauma for many years. There are so many ways adults can be suffering because of abuse, years after it ended, and we need to improve our understanding of it all.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Hence, it is of the utmost importance that we take a closer look at how we’re showing solidarity with the adults who experienced abuse as children. As practitioners, it is our role to facilitate change for people in vulnerable situations – but when do we determine the end of the vulnerability? Survivors may have gone on to have good jobs, happy families or any range of successes, but that doesn’t mean they have processed what happened to them properly. Therefore, we are the social work sector, the voices for the voiceless, should ensure that we’re providing safe spaces for them to work through residual feelings or cope with the side-effects of the trauma. Let’s shout from the rooftops that help is not just for those being currently abused, but that survivors have someone with them every step of the way throughout adulthood.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Always see yourself as a survivor and not a victim.” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]By Elena Jones, One Stop Social Team. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1557938473527{background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:30|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1557938602349{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

One Stop Social has a whole range of useful resources for those working with survivors of domestic abuse, no matter the age. So whether you’re helping someone cope immediately after abuse or supporting an adult years later, we’ve got you covered! Don’t forget to get in touch with our team if there’s a resource you’d like us to share with our community!

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Survival & Beyond ( The Domestic Abuse Report 2017)” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Personal Development Programme for children affected by domestic abuse” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Conversation Starters for Direct Work with Children and Young People” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Free Resource Packs on Self Harm, Forced Marriage, Trafficking & FGM

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Self-harm Awareness Resource Pack” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Virtual College have completed these free resource packs on self harm in young people, forced marriage & FGM. Download copies for free now.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]To help parents & practitioners to understand the scale of self-harm and raise awareness of the issue, we have created a free resource pack.

The Resource Pack includes:

  • A poster
  • An infographic
  • An email footer
  • Images to share on social media
  • A website banner

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Download Self-harm Awareness Resource Pack” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#666666″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”|||rel:nofollow”][vc_custom_heading text=”Human Trafficking Resource Pack” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]An estimated 36 million people are being used, bought, sold or transported for exploitation worldwide, yet awareness of the issue remains low. Download this resource pack by filling out the form below to help raise awareness across your organisation.

This resource pack contains:

  • A poster for your staff
  • A flowchart of actions to take should you suspect trafficking
  • Modern Slavery Act 2015 legislation

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Download Human Trafficking Resource Pack” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#666666″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|rel:nofollow”][vc_custom_heading text=”Recognising and Preventing FGM Resource Pack” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]A recent study revealed that 137,000 women in England and Wales are estimated to be living with the consequences of FGM. We worked with the Home Office to combat this by creating a resource pack which aims to increase awareness of the issue.

To help you raise awareness of FGM, this pack includes:

  • A poster for your staff
  • An email to send to your colleagues
  • A banner to put in your email signature

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Download Recognising and Preventing FGM Resource Pack” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#666666″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|rel:nofollow”][vc_custom_heading text=”Awareness of Forced Marriage Resource Pack” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Help in the fight against forced marriage by downloading this resource pack and raise awareness across your organisation.

This free resource pack contains:

  • A poster for your staff
  • A footer for your email
  • A facts and figures infographic
  • A guide to Forced Marriage legislation

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Download Awareness of Forced Marriage Resource Pack” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#666666″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|rel:nofollow”][vc_column_text]Virtual College also run a number of free online courses. Follow the link below for further information.[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Free Online Courses” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#666666″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#666666″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|rel:nofollow”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Scotland Says Autism is a Difference Not a Disorder

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We’re all used to the term “Autism Spectrum Disorder” for someone who is on the autism scale in some way. However, a change is being demanded from our Northern nation; Scotland want to ‘redefine’ autism as a difference not a disorder. This is an important step towards an end to the stigma surrounding autism and understanding that being diagnosed with ASD is not as debilitating as the stereotypes make it out to be. Linking in with #AutismAwarenessWeek this week, a Scottish partnerships is announcing its intention to advocate for the name change, as part of a process to enable autistic people to lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Now, while it’s not the entirety of the Scottish nation who are requesting this, it’s still symbolic of the drive to promote equality and rewire society’s psyche to see autism less as a condition that needs curing, but just a different way of approaching the world. The charge is being led by Inspiring Scotland, an organisation working “towards a Scotland where everyone, no matter who they are, no matter where they live, or the circumstances they are born into, has the chance to enjoy a happy, healthy life free from poverty or disadvantage”. Working with the Scottish Government, Queen Margaret University and Scottish Autism, this campaign is dedicated to showcasing what autism really looks like and the positive contributions those on the spectrum can make. After all, some of the biggest breakthroughs come from just seeing the world in a slightly different way, so shouldn’t this “disorder” be celebrated for the potential for innovation?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Why bother?” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Words have power. Although Juliet famously said: “what’s in a name?”, we can’t deny that names have an intrinsic hold over our psyche. A name conjures a particular image, sentiment and value; without us having any control over it. This then drives how we think about something or someone, and how we act towards it/them. Therefore, if you define someone with a “disorder”, they are immediately seen as a victim of an illness or at the mercy of a condition. The term “poor thing” will always come to mind. There’s also the notion that this may not always last forever; that they could be cured. Hence, there’s been a negative association with the terminology for autism for years, as it’s been classed as a “disorder”. Realistically though, autism provides a wonderful opportunity for out of the box thinking, creativity and insight into new areas; which in an era of uniformity and homogeneity across both products and individuals, is a very welcome change.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4727″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” link=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]At face value, this seems like the start of a good journey for not just Scotland but the whole of the UK; helping us all progress to a more inclusive society. However, you can’t help but thinking, is this the stand to take?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We recently wrote about the struggle that autistic adults face when trying to integrate into society, so would efforts not be better served campaigning for revised employment standards or an increase in community programmes so that they feel less isolated? While moving away from the term ‘disorder’ is important in the campaign towards equality for those on the autism spectrum; surely the better move would be to ensure that appropriate safeguarding and inclusive structures are in place? There are around 700,000 people with autism in the UK, but more often than not, we’re hearing about how they are discriminated against, not supported enough in work or school and face unnecessary challenges. There aren’t enough support systems in place for children who have autism so that they get the most out of education that they can, or for adults to thrive in a work setting. Our society is too rigid, based around people who’s brains operate in one way, so those who fit into a different box struggle.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Whether it’s a difference or a disorder to you, or you’re simply not bothered about the name; one thing must remain true: autistic people face a stigma that needs to end. We need to do better in showing our acceptance for those who view the world in a unique way, fostering their individuality and celebrating their difference.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1554136997385{padding-top: 0px !important;padding-bottom: px !important;background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:30|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1554136936287{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

A key part of breaking down the stigma surrounding autism and those affected by it is to talk. Sharing information about how day to day experiences differ can help promote better understanding. If you’re working with someone who has autism, then make sure you look up different resources and share techniques which you find offer suitable support. That way, social work can develop into a more supportive system overall.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_btn title=”Person Centred Planning Toolkit” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_text=”#ef7e21″ shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Life Journey Through Autism: A Guide to Safety” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_text=”#ef7e21″ shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”A Practical Approach at Home for Parents & Carers (Autism Spectrum Disorder)” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_text=”#ef7e21″ shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”4646″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” link=””][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Caring for Those Growing Older with Learning Disabilities

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Time goes on. One of those inevitable things that we all wish we could avoid is that time passes, and we will get older. For some though, this process is complicated by the simple fact of their DNA. Individuals who are born with learning disabilities face many challenges throughout their lives, due to the structure of our society and how slowly we’re changing to be more inclusive of those with disabilities. However, as these individuals grow older, the challenges change and it’s essential that as a society, and most importantly as an industry, we put the correct structures in place to give them the support they need.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Why do we need new systems?” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]There are 1.5 million people living in the UK with learning disabilities. That’s 1.5 million people who don’t fit in the standard ‘box’ of what a citizen in our society is like. 1.5 million people who approach the world in a slightly different way, and therefore may find our current way of caring for people as they grow older creates even more challenges. Furthermore, thanks to our advances in healthcare, we’re all living longer, especially those with learning disabilities. This means that we’re having to learn how to care for people who historically weren’t a major player in the social care sector. Whereas it’s much more common now, being able to effectively care for older people with learning disabilities or who differed from the stereotype was rarely a concern in previous generations. This means that our sector built itself around the idea that we can get away with a “one size fits all” system.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The social work and care sector is all about ensuring that every person in the UK has the best possible life they can achieve, no matter their background, personal circumstances, health or financial state. We want to make sure that everyone has a satisfying and fulfilling life. However, despite this ambition, at times those with learning disabilities miss out. People who have communication issues don’t always get the consideration they need and can’t express themselves as effectively; or those who view the world with more of a child-like wonder are sometimes forced to adapt to a much more grown-up way of life, making them uncomfortable and unsettled.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Personalisation is key” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Learning disabilities come in all shapes and sizes. Some may only rank mildly on the Autism Spectrum, while others struggle with even the most basic of tasks due to the way their brain is programmed. No matter what differences we all have though, everyone is entitled to equal support and care. Due to this variation in what a learning disability can present as, there is vast pressure on services to be able to personalise care and support. Social workers need to be able to tailor an assessment with a service user in order to make them as comfortable and at ease as possible; and care professionals should ensure that their care homes or at home care service understands how to change a procedure to suit the individual. Let’s make it easier to design care homes with personalised care as the norm, so that going in, everyone can feel welcome and at home. If we increase the training and resources available about growing older with learning disabilities, then social workers can go into a process with a better understanding and insight into how to facilitate effective change.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Promote the Profession” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Across the whole of social work and care, we are in dire need of new recruits, that much is true. There simply aren’t enough people entering the profession to meet the growing demand across children’s, adults and mental health services. An issue that arises is that working with adults who have learning disabilities isn’t always a first-choice profession. With so many different areas of social work to consider, practitioners are sometimes reluctant to choose a field where there’s less support or the procedures will be more complicated – like working with adults with learning difficulties.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Therefore we need to push for a variety of changes, so that adults with learning disorders, disabilities or difficulties are supported in every way that those who do not have these challenges are. Firstly, there needs to be a much wider availability of training for professionals working with these individuals, so that they are aware of how best to care for them and help them through various stages of their lives. Secondly, adults with learning disabilities need to be involved in the process of creating resources and guides for practitioners so that the information being passed on is honest and appropriate. If we make this part of the system inclusive and collaborative, we’ll build practices that ensure the service user is kept at the absolute heart of things. It’ll also widen our knowledge about the different ways to personalise a practice, some of which we may not usually consider but could make the world of difference to a person in these situations. Lastly, a key action should be to encourage student social workers or those considering social care to choose this route. Supporting an older person who views the world in a unique way can be some of the most rewarding work there is, so let’s tell our young people this. Within the drive to boost recruitment in social care, let’s inform people about the emotional fulfilment you can get by being there for these individuals when they really need it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1552497796643{padding-top: -10px !important;padding-bottom: -10px !important;background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:30|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1552497776794{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

One Stop Social have a whole range of helpful guides, booklets, tools and more in our Resources Page which can help develop good practice when working with people with learning disabilities. If you want further support as a practitioner then get in touch and see how else we can help!

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Care and support of people growing older with learning disabilities” style=”outline” color=”white” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Healthy Relationships Workbook (for people with learning difficulties)” style=”outline” color=”white” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Disability Hate Crime” style=”outline” color=”white” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Hope for Homeless Hubs

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1551180588565{margin-top: -100px !important;padding-top: -10px !important;}”][vc_column css=”.vc_custom_1482333406119{margin-top: -35px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”The First Rough Sleeping ‘Hub’ Showing Promise” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center|color:%23fab94e” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1551180521403{padding-top: 50px !important;padding-right: 35px !important;padding-left: 35px !important;background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1551180654162{padding-right: 35px !important;padding-left: 35px !important;}”]

As part of the government’s £100m ‘Rough Sleeping Strategy’, new support centres are opening across the country to help get rough sleepers off the streets.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]On every politician’s agenda recently is the need to brainstorm how to solve the homelessness issues across the country. We’re at an undeniable tipping point as a society, where we’re close to having unmanageable levels of people sleeping rough. No matter how much you try to close your eyes to the problem or assuage any guilt of not doing more to help, none of us can claim to be unaware that the UK has a homelessness crisis. Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is working tirelessly to come up with creative ideas to help the prominent issue in Greater Manchester; but it does seem that every new idea can’t seem to make an indentation. People are still sleeping on the streets around every corner. Homelessness services are stretched to breaking points trying to help as many people as possible. The papers are filled with reports about how homelessness is just getting worse. Despite all this pressure, MP James Brokenshire is trying to be the man with the plan when it comes to easing the homelessness crisis, thanks to his pitch for “homeless hubs” across the country.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]In December 2018, ministers announced that 11 ‘rough sleeping hubs’ would be introduced in cities across the UK to help give homeless people a place of immediate support and safety. Secretary of State for Housing, Community and Local Government James Brokenshire is leading the drive to instil this new network of safe havens for rough sleepers, committing £5m to the initiative. And now, the first one has opened its doors and it’s already starting to make people hopeful.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The first Somewhere Safe to Stay (SSTS) hub in Nottingham is an attempt to get people off the streets and into accommodation as quickly as possible, and more locations around the UK will follow suit in Spring 2019. Opening ahead of schedule on 7th February 2019, the Nottingham homeless hub can accommodate up to 8 people at a time, including their pets, and allows rough sleepers to stay there for up to 3 days while their assigned “navigator” works to find them a more permanent situation. Two rough sleepers have already been placed in private rented accommodation while another 2 are in the process of getting tenancies agreed. That’s 4 success stories in just a matter of weeks. For a brand-new way of approaching things, that surely has got to count for something, doesn’t it?[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]While we don’t like to jump to conclusions and there’s still a vast amount of work to be done to support the homeless people across the country, this network of homeless hubs could be the strategy we needed. Each rough sleeper is assigned a ‘navigator’ who not only helps them find a more secure place to stay, but also finds them appropriate support for any addiction or mental health issues they may have. Which approaches homelessness in a slightly new way, understanding that there are multiple issues intertwining that lead someone to sleep on the streets. As James Brokenshire commented, “these are vulnerable people, who may be dealing with complex mental health problems or addictions and require specialist help to tackle these issues and turn their lives around”; so it’s vital we provide the necessary support. These homeless hubs seem to recognise the need for a ‘bigger picture’ approach to homelessness and perhaps, this could finally be a sign that we’re getting things right.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Following on from the quick success of the Nottingham centre, homeless hubs will be opening in the following areas:

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  • Brighton & Hove
  • Bristol
  • Cheshire West & Chester
  • Derby
  • Gloucestershire (encompassing the 7 councils in the county)
  • Lincoln
  • Liverpool
  • Medway
  • Preston
  • West London (encompassing 7 borough councils)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”4236″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]While there are no assurances that this network will have sustainable success, we must be hopeful. The collaboration between multiple services and approaching the issue of rough sleeping as a complex issue just might be the trick. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how the future Somewhere Safe to Stay (SSTS) hubs do, and should they show positive results like Nottingham has done – we’ll definitely be making sure the man with the plan knows to expand the network. After all, 11 centres are a great start, but will never have the capacity to fully reduce the levels of homelessness in the UK. If this initiative proves to be successful, the government will have to be prepared to commit more money and effort into covering all regions so that no person is left with no option but to sleep on the streets.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1551181019063{padding-top: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:60|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_empty_space height=”10px”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1551179738955{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

If you would like to organise training workshops for your team, in order to help them properly support vulnerable service users, remember that One Stop Social can deliver high-quality and insightful training across the country, on a whole range of topics. We’re passionate about developing good practice within our community and our training courses are just one way we do this. Check out some of the courses we run at the link below and then get in touch with our team to find out more! 

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