Danielle Farmer, Registered Manager at Vernon House, is preparing her team for the arrival of the provision’s first children.
Registered and ready for referrals
There’s whole-team training, with input from Barnado’s and other specialist providers and the continued development of the home, with blinds being fitted and picture frames (empty until children can arrive and fill them) bought. Then there’s team building, as new and experienced care workers come together.
“I want my team to model learning, acceptance and support. We’ve started as we mean to go on: developing a shared vision for what we want to be a very homely home, making sure knowledge and skills are in place, that support for staff is there and that there is an open culture of learning
“We have staff of different ages, backgrounds and interests, and that is so important. They work well as a team and this time for us together is essential in learning to communicate, understand each other’s strengths, and how they can work together as a team to give the best for the children.
A new home, supported by Kedleston Group staff
As a new five-bedroomed home for boys and girls aged nine-17 with social, emotional and mental health needs, Vernon House draws on Danielle’s nine years’ experience in children’s residential care, as well as the considerable and varied experience within Kedleston of developing and running children’s homes with a strong record in helping children transition to foster placements, back to family life, or onto independent living.
“For all the challenges of opening a new home, it is easier to set the right culture, right expectations and right behaviours when a whole new team comes together.
“The fact that we are supported by Kedleston staff at our schools nearby means children have staff with other skills to bring, including therapists, and that our home staff are fully supported by colleagues with their own expertise.
The home’s location is ideal for children who need a range of activities and are looking to develop independence over time.
“It’s in a very nice residential area, with mainstream schools and special schools easily accessible. There is the leisure centre down the road. It’s a real community.
“We’re removed from Greater Manchester, in a very nice family area, but at the same time the big city is accessible – with all the opportunities that offers for sport, music, shopping, museums and other trips.
Individual care focused on change
The real preparation for Danielle and her team comes when they know which children are joining the home: their needs, their interests, their aspirations.
“We’ve already talked as a team about the importance of realistic and meaningful goals for our work. It’s not about dramatic and sudden transformations for children in the way you see in Hollywood films. Actually, for a child, helping them learn how to catch a bus, so that they can attend swimming lessons, or have the confidence to get about and visit College friends, could be life changing.
“It's understanding those seemingly small, but powerful ways we can help children live their best lives.”
For referrals to Vernon House, please contact Billy Dawson at firstname.lastname@example.org