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The Scoop - A newsletter written by Young people for Young people

May 2020

During the pandemic we aim to release a monthly newsletter for young people in care. We are always looking for new things for our newsletter, so if you have anything you would like to share or any questions you would like answering from children’s services anonymously send them in to nicc@norfolk.gov.uk and we will include them in our next edition.

To sign up to receive a PDF colour version of our newsletter via email, please contact nicc@norfolk.gov.uk.

NiCC Update

What is it?

Everyone who has care experience is automatically a member of the Norfolk in Care Council! We like to hold events and opportunities to try and engage as many young people as possible to help improve the lives of young people in care. We have listed some of the ways that young people can get involved here!

Why should I come?

Not only do you get to help children’s services make improvements, but it is also a chance to meet other young people and we have free food!!!! Twice a year we also go on a trip - recently we went to Pleasurewood Hills, tubing and Cosmo.

Where is it?

We normally meet once a month in each locality which is split up into north, east, south, west Breckland and city. Since Lockdown we have been meeting virtually and have continued to work on some exciting projects such as a virtual talent show and film and website group and lots more. 

How do I get involved?

You can email nicc@norfolk.gov.uk and we will send you a list of the meetings we have going on. You can come to as few or as many as you like. Anybody up to the age of 25 can join. 

Current NiCC projects

  • Virtual talent show
  • Raising awareness of the importance of Life story
  • Re-designing passport to independence
  • Designing this newsletter
  • Film and website group
  • Resource group

Your experiences

BH: Having fun in lockdown

  • “Hi BH how are you finding lockdown?”“Alright”
  • "So, what have you been doing to keep yourself busy?” - “Been sorting out my room and loads of school work”
  • “Have you learnt anything new during the lockdown?” - “I have learnt how to do different plaits on Youtube. I searched ‘French braids’ and it came up with all the stuff you need to do them”
  • “What would be your top tip for other people during lockdown to make sure they have fun?” - “Try not to spend too much time on social media, because you can get carried away and be on it long"

DB: Finishing Year 11 with no exams

  • “So DB, all the schools are closed - how are you finding it not being at school?”  - “Kinda more fun”
  • “That’s good to hear. You are in 11 aren’t you DB, does that mean you won’t get to do your exams?” - “I won’t do the exams, but I will still get my results”
  • “How are they going to work out your results if you are not going to do your exams?” - “They are going to use our pre-public exams, our class work and our teacher reports”
  • “How does that make you feel?” - “I feel fine, as long as I know I am going to get the grades I need, it will be fine.”

“Thanks for sharing that with us DB. We wish you all the best with your results!”

BR: Gaming

  • “Hi BR, we hear that you have been doing lots of gaming (as well as eating) during lockdown. Which games would you recommend?” - “Depends what platform, I don’t have a favourite. If you play Xbox I would recommend Smite (age 12+)”
  • “How many hours a day do you game?” - “Dunno, varies from day to day”
  • “What’s your favourite console/gaming platform?” - “I don’t have a favourite but I game on Xbox, phone and laptop”

Check out BR’s video

Top Ten things to do during Lockdown:

  1. Watch your favourite boxsets - one of our team members recommends The Arrow (15+) and The Flash (12+) on Netflix
  2. Write a letter/note to NHS – or draw rainbows
  3. Make some lovely food (you can try out the great recipe recommended in this newsletter)
  4. Play Xbox (check out our gaming tips on page 3)
  5. Learn a new language – some great videos on YouTube
  6. Walk the dog daily
  7. Take photos of nature 
  8. Art and crafts
  9. Practicing hair tutorials
  10. Write a diary – so you remember this time in years to come

Lockdown FAQs

Can I have contact or family time?

We went and asked the family time team manager at Norfolk County Council who said: 

Norfolk continues to have a duty, set out in the law, to promote your family time. For the time being, the Covid-19 lockdown rules limit the safe options to provide you with your family time. But we also know that keeping in touch with family is even more important during this time, which is likely to be stressful and confusing for many of you. Therefore, the Family Time service is keen to help you stay in touch in any way that is safe do so.

“For the time being, ‘real’ and ‘face-to-face’ sessions can only go ahead in very special circumstances. This is because the most up-to-date government guidance tells us that children should only see people outside of their immediate household if they live between households. This is likely to change in the weeks ahead, so we are keeping a close eye on what the government is telling us. As soon as it is safe to return to having your usual sessions, we, or your social worker, will let you know.

“To maintain family time as normally as we can, we are using an app called ‘Teams’ - it is like Skype and FaceTime but is considered safer than those to use. We can use this app to link you with your family members so that you can spend time with each other. It should be just like a regular family time session, just online.

“If you are not already having virtual family time and would like it to be set up for you, please speak to your social worker, who will contact us to organise it for you. Family time supervisors can also support with sharing letters, artwork or hand and footprints (for younger children). These arrangements will also need to be agreed by your social worker, so if you have letters, pictures or videos you’d like to send on to your family members, just ask.

Can I still order takeaway?

Yes! For collection and delivery orders. Restaurants are closed. You can also use online services such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats to have food delivered to your home.

Why are some food items limited in supermarkets? - And why can I not get hold of some items? 

When the lockdown first began some people were buying more products than they needed (like toilet roll) which meant that there was not enough for everybody else (ohhh no :/) so some supermarkets put a limit on the number of products that one person could buy to make sure there is enough for everybody. 

Should I still see my social worker during lockdown?

Head of social work for looked-after children and leaving care (city and south) said:

In order to follow government guidelines and keep as many people safe as we can, social workers will try and minimise direct visits to young people unless they are worried about the young person or the young person wants a direct visit and it is safe to do so. “We aim to keep in touch with our young people at least once a fortnight; if not directly via telephone or video messaging. This will be reviewed as the weeks pass and new guidance comes out but please feel reassured that we continue to be there for our young people and we will be as flexible as we can to fit in with what you want.

Millionaire's shortbread recipe

Ingredients

For the shortbread

  • 250g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 175g butter

For the caramel

  • 100g butter or margarine
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 x 397g cans condensed milk

For the topping

  • 200g plain or milk chocolate

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas. Lightly grease a 33 x 23cm Swiss roll tin with a lip of at least 3cm.
  2. To make the shortbread, mix 250g plain flour and 75g caster sugar in a bowl. Rub in 175g softened butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Knead the mixture together until it forms a dough, then press into the base of the prepared tin.
  4. Prick the shortbread lightly with a fork and bake for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch and very lightly browned. Leave to cool in the tin.
  5. To make the caramel, place 100g butter or margarine, 100g light muscovado sugar and two 397g cans condensed milk in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently,stirring continuously, for about 5-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Pour over the shortbread and leave to cool.
  7. For the topping, melt 200g plain or milk chocolate slowly in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Pour over the cold caramel and leave to set. Cut into squares or bars.

Know your rights

Alison from our advocacy service says:

  • Every child or young person in care is entitled to an advocate
  • Advocacy is about helping you to speak out about what is important to you. Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states that you have the right to have your opinion heard and for that opinion to be taken seriously when decisions are being made about you and your life.
  • You can contact an advocate about lots of different things, such as:
    • Where you live
    • Seeing family and friends
    • Feeling safe
    • Having concerns about your care
    • Disagreeing with plans being made about you
  • Advocates are completely independent from children’s services and are there to represent you and your thoughts and feelings. They can help you make a complaint and to help you voice your concerns to make things better.

Here is what some young people think of advocates:

  • “She was here for me, she helped me and spoke for me when I didn’t want to.”
  • “I have someone who understood what I was thinking about and got how I feel.”
  • “She helped me with my views when I was afraid to mention it.”

You can get an advocate by speaking to your social worker or IRO or you can contact Coram Voice directly:

Tel: 01263 723613 Email: norfolk@coramvoice.org.uk Website: https://coramvoice.org.uk/

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