Open Talent Service Development
Each month we will be bringing you updates on Foyers which have undertaken to transform their service by embedding Open Talent and adopting a new way of working and we hope you’ll follow them on their journey.
This month we’re focusing on Basildon Foyer.
Earlier this year, the Foyer Federation invited all of our members to regional Open Talent Inspire Days, with the aim to explore a new approach to working with young people that emphasises talent-spotting and talent-building. An application process followed, for Foyers to secure the Open Talent Service Development Package (OTSDP). Six Foyers were selected from Round 1, each on the strength of a solid application and the commitment to transform their service to open talent in all young people and to develop advantaged thinking culture and working practices. You can follow their Open Talent journey in our E-bulletin.
Introducing Basildon Foyers
Basildon Foyers comprise of Swan House Foyer which is 17 units for single young people aged 16 to 24 years and Dove Cott House which is 24 units for young parents aged 16 to 24 years. We checked in with the manager Val Petch to see how their plans to open talent are taking shape.
‘‘Our Working Assets project started as an idea to develop our work club into a ‘Talent Investment Centre’ involving local training providers and employers. The idea goes beyond the norm of offering young people sessions to learn how to apply for jobs, interview techniques, how to write CVs etc. The Talent Investment Centre will offer chances for them to pursue the talents they have and to be able to turn these experiences into life chances, show prospective employers and investors that they are worth investing in, and demonstrate that they have incredible skills and talents. Talent can be manifested in many different ways, and the Talent Investment Centre will enable young people to recognise their talents and take them further too.
Since the original idea the young people involved have developed the idea and are now looking to combine the Talent Investment Centre with a youth café. This, they feel, will enable them to start showing people some of the skills they have already. We are still in the early stages of planning, with the steering group meeting weekly but are on target for the project to be up and running in the New Year.
Open Talent is helping young people to engage and there is an understanding that they can make a difference to their own lives and that they do have a voice. Embedding Advantaged Thinking within the Foyers is well underway and it is our aim to spread this across the organisation and beyond.
Residents and staff at Basildon were recently invited to tour the Houses of Parliament by the Leader of Basildon Council – Mr Tony Ball. Following this invite one of our Swan House Foyer residents, Summer Downes, wrote to Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon & East Thurrock, to ask for a meeting to discuss how the proposed reforms to the welfare system could affect young people in her position. In her letter she wrote:
‘‘I am one of 40 young people living in the two schemes which make up the Foyers in Basildon and I am writing on behalf of all of us. We would like to thank you for sponsoring our visit to the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 29th August. We are looking forward to this and would, if possible, like to meet with you during the day to talk about our hopes, our futures and how some of the Governments plans could seriously affect the chances to develop our lives.’’
On the day the young people enjoyed a tour of the Houses of Parliament, learning about the history of the building and some of the traditions and ceremonies carried out within its walls. Following this they met with Mr. Metcalfe and spent time talking to him about how the Foyers have helped them and how they were concerned that the proposed reforms could impact on Foyers and young people who need them. They also spoke about accessing college and education after the age of 19 and learnt how Mr. Metcalfe became an MP.
After speaking to the young people Mr. Metcalfe said he would look into their concerns and the possible impact the welfare reforms could have on young people living in Foyers and would come back to them with his findings.
Following the meeting with Mr. Metcalfe the group visited Downing Street where they were invited to take photographs outside No. 10.
Mitchell a resident at Swan House Foyer said “the day was brilliant, I feel really privileged to have had the chance to see the inside of the Houses of Parliament. I learnt so much about its history. The best part of the day for me was No. 10 Downing Street I even got to see ‘Larry’ the cat.”
The visit has definitely been a catalyst to residents wanting to get more involved, to them understanding that they can shape the service that is on offer to them but also their own lives in a positive way.
Original content by the Foyer Federation
November 1, 2012