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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

UHI Inverness Celebrates Care Experienced Week by Hosting Training and Information Events

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UHI Inverness has joined with partners to mark Care Experienced Week by hosting events that help ensure people with care experience have improved access to support provided by trained professionals.

The annual national awareness week, which runs until Sunday, showcases and celebrates the care experienced community.

In the Highlands an event was planned for every day of the week to build connections, highlight the local support available and raise the profile of the work being done in line with a national commitment to improve care experience for everyone.

Care experienced is the term given to children, young people and adults who have lived experience of the care system.

The care includes being fostered, residential, looked after at home under a supervision order or living with close family friends or relatives.

The week began on Monday when the flag of support group Highland CHAMPS (Children Have Amazing Minds, Potential and Stories) was raised at the UHI Inverness campus and at Inverness Leisure Centre.

UHI Inverness also hosted the Highland Promise Board for a corporate parent training session delivered by WhoCares? Scotland.

The training was shaped by care experienced young people from the Highlands.

On Wednesday an awareness raising event was held on campus that allowed a number of local organisations to engage with students and staff. During the event students got the chance to a test the free new app, Has Answers by the Calman Trust, which provides a wide range of support covering all aspects of independent living as well as employment advice.

UHI Inverness currently has approximately 155 students with care experience across a variety of programmes of study.

The Access and Transitions Team offers far-reaching support to care experienced students that covers social, emotional, housing, finance and learning support needs.

The support is delivered in line with Corporate Parenting legislation and The Promise Scotland, which aims to ensure that all care experienced people grow up loved and safe.

UHI Inverness also offers a course designed specifically for care experienced young people, called the LEEP Ahead programme, (Life, Education, Employment and Personal Development) which provides the first step into preparing for further study or work.

LEEP Ahead aims to build self-esteem, increase personal and social skills, improve health and wellbeing, and introduce a wider curriculum experience through project-based activity.

The programme won the Widening Access category at the Herald Higher Education Awards 2023 in June.

Applications are open for the 2023/24 course which begins in January.

Vice Principal Lindsay Snodgrass said:

“At UHI Inverness we offer support to all students who have experience of care no matter their age or how long ago they experienced that care.

“We recognise that their needs are varied and sometimes complex and what they have lived through could be a barrier to their learning.

“We place value on building trusting relationships and tailored support for our students to help them overcome any additional challenges they may face.

“We are pleased to be collaborating with a number of partners to recognise and celebrate Care Experienced Week.

“It is important that we raise the profile of the great work that is being done to make sure our care experienced community feel respected and empowered and well inform of the support they are entitled to and how to engage with it.”

Carrie McLaughlan, The Promise Programme Manager at Highland Council, said:

“Highland’s Promise Board was delighted to be joining Who Cares? Scotland for training on our responsibilities as corporate parents.

“It is fantastic, and not a coincidence, that this training session fell on the start of Care Experienced Week, an important week in celebrating the care experience community and building connections across the Highlands.  

“Our board is committed to improving services and experiences for our care community, and to do so, we must also commit to a 50/50 co-design approach where we listen to voices of lived experience. 

“Care Experience Week is a fantastic opportunity to draw alongside the communities and really listen.”

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