Agenda item

Locality Working from a Children's Services Perspective - Further Information

A range of partners working within the locality working pilot model in North Ormesby have been invited to discuss with the Panel: how their organisation/service links into the project; how they work with children’s social care/early help services to achieve better outcomes for children and families; their views on the current pilot model.


Presentations attached from:

a)     North Ormesby Neighbourhood Development Manager

b)     Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland – Food Insecurity Project Officer


The Chair welcomed those present and provided background in relation to the Panel’s current scrutiny topic of Locality Working from a children’s services perspective.


It was explained that the Panel had been provided with information in relation to various partners working within the locality pilot areas of Newport and North Ormesby and subsequently wished to invite some of those partners to discuss, with the Panel, their involvement in locality working in order to provide a better understanding of how the multi-agency approach was working to improve outcomes for children and families.


The following representatives were in attendance at the meeting:-


·        H Insull – Youth Focus North East

·        K Deen – Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland

·        C Williams – North Ormesby Primary Academy


Youth Focus North East


H Insull, Youth Focus North East (YFNE), explained that YFNE was a young people’s charity covering the north east, particularly East Middlesbrough, including North Ormesby.  YFNE was currently funded through the Big Local lotto-funded initiative which was approximately half way through a 10-year funded period.


Youth provision operated on Mondays and Thursdays at North Ormesby Hub, Derwent Street, for young people aged 10 – 18 years.


YFNE participated in the weekly North Ormesby locality team meetings which had been helpful to enable young people’s voices to be heard and to help them progress the things that they wanted to happen within their community.  For example, YFNE were funded to create social action projects – this focused on ideas that would benefit the community and make it a nicer place to live. 


YFNE had worked with the North Ormesby Locality Team in order to implement some of those ideas – such as recent community litter picks undertaken by young people and an art project with young people who had made boards to cover void property frontages within North Ormesby to improve their appearance.  This work had been carried out in conjunction with the Council and Thirteen Housing.  Also in conjunction with the Locality Team, a Community Awards event was organised to celebrate people within the community and a similar event had been held in Newport.  The Panel was informed that YFNE found it beneficial to work with other organisations to strive for the same aims and objectives on a bigger scale.


YFNE was not directly funded by the Council for any youth provision, with all funding being generated from external sources, however, YFNE had excellent engagement with the local community and many of its staff lived within the community.  YFNE felt that due to not being a Council funded service, it could sometimes be left out of the loop in terms of information sharing.  For example, where other services were involved with young people and families in the community, YFNE was not always made aware from the start despite the fact that they may already be engaging with those young people on a twice weekly basis.  It was felt that some issues might have been resolved more quickly had the information from other services been brought to the attention of YFNE much earlier, allowing collaborative working. 


YFNE had attended some of the Children’s Social Care locality meetings and found this to be very beneficial as it provided an opportunity to share any issues or concerns regarding young people they were engaging with and allowed liaison with the young person’s social worker in order to determine whether there was any additional support that could be provided to that young person by YFNE.  It also helped to avoid duplication of provision.


During discussion, the following issues were raised:-


·        In response to a query as to what activities YFNE provided for young people, it was explained that they tried to deliver provision where there was none, or very little, or where there had been no provision for a long time.  The starting point would be to consult with young people in the area to find out what their aspirations were and what they would like to achieve and to instil that they were capable of achieving amazing things.  Cooking was one of the weekly activities carried out with the young people, showing them how to cook healthy recipes from scratch that they could take home to their families.  Other activities included arts-based activities, sports and local organisations were invited to undertake intervention based work where appropriate, such as substance misuse and sexual health.  The young people were due to take part in positive graffiti art in North Ormesby Park which would include education around the difference between art and vandalism and that positive art in the right place, in the right way was a good thing.


·        The Panel thanked YFNE for the excellent work that was being undertaken with lots of young people within the communities, including the fantastic community award ceremonies that had taken place.


·        A Panel Member thanked the officer for her positive attitude towards the young people her organisation worked with and queried whether there were any issues in communicating with other partners within the locality project.  It was stated that there were no particular problems and that the North Ormesby Neighbourhood Development Manager provided good oversight and did a great job to bring everyone together and do the best for the North Ormesby community.  The team focusing on the North Ormesby area was doing the best that they could to achieve the aims for the community.


K Deen – Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland


K Deen, Food Insecurity Project Officer, Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland (TM&C) advised the Panel that TM&C was responsible for co-ordinating programmes of fun activities and the provision of health meals across Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland during school holiday periods.  This was known as ‘Feast of Fun’.  The aim of the project was to combat hunger during school holidays for vulnerable families who struggled to provide the cost of additional meals and entertainment for children outside of term time.


In order to fund the Feast of Fun provision, TM&C raised external funding each year to be able to support local organisations that they worked with in the form of small grants.  TM&C worked with around 40 churches and community organisations in order to deliver Feast of Fun within their own communities.


TM&C provided central co-ordination of the programme across Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland during each school holiday.  Additional resources were also secured for the groups that they worked with, for example, TM&C worked with Youth Focus North East who delivered Feast of Fun – this could be a face to face enrichment activities during school holidays for children and young people to enhance Youth Focus North East’s offer and would also include a healthy meal.


TM&C also provided Feast of fun branding for the groups that they worked with to promote their activity in the community and also secured, co-ordinated and disseminated additional resources for groups to access, such as coach hire, free entry to tourist attractions, children’s books, workshop providers, entertainers and healthy food ingredients.


In terms of the impact of Feast of Fun, during 2019, the organisations that participated, delivered 13,000 meals to children at a cost of £34,000.  During 2020, Feast of Fun became Feast of Fun at Home due to the pandemic and 86,000 meals were delivered, costing around £82,000.  During 2021, the provision was delivered both remotely and face to face and the number of meals delivered again increased to 117,000, requiring funding in the region of £117,000.  Alongside those meals, organisations would include activities and activity packs were delivered together with the meals during periods of lockdown.


In terms of specific support for Feast of Fun via the locality model, the Panel was advised that TM&C attended both locality meetings in Newport and North Ormesby on a weekly basis with in-depth discussions around everything that was happening in those areas.  The Panel heard that this was a great opportunity to find out what was going on across all organisations, for example, when Feast of Fun was coming up to the next delivery period, discussions could take place around organisations wishing to be involved and identifying possible funding streams.  Where a family was in desperate need of support during the holidays, it enabled contact with other services and organisations to support them.


Some of the groups TM&C worked with to deliver Feast of Fun included:-


·        Newport Hub

·        Streets Ahead for Information

·        Youth Focus North East

·        Linx

·        Trinity Young People and Children’s Project

·        Local Schools


During 2021 in Newport and North Ormesby, through the Feast of Fun, 1,292 children and young people were supported; 398 adults were supported and 10,441 meals were provided, as well as enrichment activities.


It was highlighted that last year the Holiday Activities Fund (HAF) was introduced and funded by the Council.  The HAF provision was very similar to what was delivered by Feast of Fun, however, it was only available to children in receipt of free school meals within school whereas Feast of Fun could support any family and many families were on the borderline of receiving support.  In addition, Feast of Fun was available during all school holiday periods throughout the year, whereas HAF provision was available for one week of each of the Christmas and Easter holidays and four weeks of the summer holidays. Feast of Fun would be delivering provision during the February half term and as there would be no HAF provision during February, this placed additional demand on Feast of Fun provision.  As the HAF was a new provision there had been initial difficulties in being kept informed, however, work was undertaken to co-ordinate delivery of Feast of Fun and HAF in parallel in order to try to avoid duplication for some and to ensure every young person had access to provision if needed. 


The Panel was provided with a real-life case study of a family that had accessed the Feast of Fun provision.  This highlighted how much the support had meant to the whole family and this was typical of the impact the provision had.


During discussion, the following issues were raised:-


·        The Panel expressed thanks at the great work that was being done to help children and their families.


·        It was queried how the families requiring support were identified.  The Panel was advised that the organisations that TM&C worked with already knew their families, as did the schools.  For example an organisation, such as Youth Focus North East, would apply for a small grant from TM&C, or a school or organisation working in partnership with a school, would identify children/families requiring support and apply to TM&C for funding in order to support those families.  Sometimes direct contact would made by the family themselves.  Locality working fitted in well as it allowed all of the agencies to liaise with each other in order to identify the right support and requirements of the family.


·        It was queried whether TM&C experienced difficulties in securing funding.  The Officer advised that it was becoming more and more difficult to access funding streams, however, one of their largest funding partners was Break, Meals and More who worked closely with TM&C on an annual basis so that the amount of funding available across Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland was known at the start of each year.  TM&C had been fortunate to obtain some funding from the Council in the past but this had become more difficult due to the introduction of the HAF provision.  This was why it was essential to work alongside HAF to ensure the right provision went to those who needed it most.


·        A Member of the Panel commented that it was very sad that all of the provision was necessary in the first place and that there was a continuous growing need, particularly in certain areas of the town.  The provision being delivered through the HAF and through TM&C was much needed and appreciated.


North Ormesby Primary Academy


C Williams, Designated Safeguarding Lead, North Ormesby Primary Academy was welcomed to the meeting and advised that she was in attendance mainly for information purposes as she was largely unaware of the locality working model in North Ormesby.


The Panel heard that the school currently had 278 children on roll and that approximately 20% of those children were in receipt of level four Children’s Services as well as many more children engaging at levels two and three. 


The officer stated that she was aware of some fantastic work going on within the area and that the school had advertised some of the events that they were aware of, however, they had not been involved in any of the locality area meetings or been involved in the project and had not been made aware of the various services/agencies that families within the school could be referred to for help.


In response as to whether the school had access to the HAF provision during the summer and Christmas holidays, it was stated that an external HAF used the school building during Christmas but this had been the first time that children at the school were able to access this provision, however, it was primarily for children in receipt of free school meals and those able to pay to attend.  There was a large proportion of the community who were not able to access public funds or claim free school meals but lived on low incomes and would welcome such provision.


The Executive Director of Children’s Services expressed concern that the school had no knowledge of the locality working project and acknowledged that North Ormesby Primary had been working more closely with Children’s Services.  The Director stated that she would undertake to ensure that the relevant information was provided to the Safeguarding Lead and her colleagues as soon as possible.


A Member of the Panel expressed concern that the school had been excluded from the locality project and commented that he had assumed that the pilot projects in Newport and North Ormesby operated on an identical basis so was surprised that the school had not been included from the start of the project but felt reassured that the necessary information would now be provided.


A Panel Member stated that a list of all the services and organisations available to support families within the locality should be made available or be available via a co-ordinator.  It was stated that the North Ormesby Neighbourhood Development Manager would have this information.


North Ormesby Neighbourhood Development Manager


Unfortunately the North Ormesby Neighbourhood Development Manager was unexpectedly unavailable to attend the meeting.  The Chair requested that she be invited to attend the Panel’s next meeting and that should she be unable to do so, an appropriate representative should attend on her behalf.


The Chair thanked all of the attendees for attending the meeting and for their valuable contributions and suggested that the locality street wardens and police be invited to attend the next meeting if available.


The Chair thanked the guests for their attendance and the information provided.


AGREED that the information provided be noted and considered in the context of the Panel’s current scrutiny topic “Locality Working from a Children’s Services Perspective”.

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