The Chair introduced Rob Johnson, Project Manager for Investing in Children and Caitlyn and Luke from the Children in Care Council. Members welcomed Luke to his first meeting, saying they were looking forward to working with him and hearing his feedback. The Chair was pleased to report that Mitchell is now studying at University and he was thanked for all his hard work and support.
Caitlyn and Luke delivered a presentation, highlighting the work of the two CiCC meetings held during January (for copy see file of minutes).
· Meetings were held with the younger and older groups and both groups agreed on the CiCC’s expectations for 2022. Further information on the expectations will be shared with the Panel in the future.
· The younger group is focusing on the ‘all about me’ photography project and they are looking at ways to present information about the key messages of the project to a future meeting of the Panel.
· The young people are continuing to deliver awareness raising sessions to Sunderland University social work students.
· Work is ongoing on the Full Circle therapy room enhancements, with workshops scheduled to take place during half term.
· Care leavers had reviewed the local offer to inform future strategic planning and they requested that Members continue to promote the local offer.
· The young people had discussed ideas for their involvement in Durham County Council’s City of Culture bid. Suggestions had included the creation of a Time Capsule to be opened in 2075, an idea which the young people would very much like Members to support. Caitlyn explained that the time capsule would chronicle current events and include young people’s experiences, which may be particularly poignant due to the recent pandemic. The young people expressed that they would like to connect their heritage with the Council’s vision for the future.
The Project Manager for Investing in Children explained the idea
materialised through discussions with partners at Durham University. Whilst the hope is that the bid will be successful, the young people feel this project would be of benefit, irrespective of whether the bid is successful.
Members spoke in support of the Time Capsule 2075 proposal and Councillor Surtees suggested that the young people may wish to explore links with Durham History Centre, to help to develop their ideas.
Councillor Walton referred to the local offer and asked what more the young people would like to see done, to enhance the offer. The Head of Children’s Social Care explained that a group of young people had worked with Strategic Managers to investigate how Durham’s local offer compares with other regions. They found that Durham has a strong offer and compares favourably, however, they identified five actions that could be introduced to enhance the offer. One of the suggestions was to look at the possibility of enabling a friend to accompany the young person to gym / leisure activities as many young people would feel happier participating in these activities if they were accompanied by a friend and this would also help to combat loneliness. Further information on this work will be provided at a future meeting of the Panel.
Councillor Miller referred to a local history event taking place within his division and commented on the local history resources available within communities which Members could help the young people to access. He also extended an invite to the young people to visit the heritage centre in Wheatley Hill.