A Day in the Life of Priya: Team Leader at Progress

As a team leader at Progress Children’s Services, Priya has a busy but rewarding day overseeing the care of the young people. “I run all the shifts that I’m on. I do all the allocations and then I’m in charge of the other support workers making sure that they’re doing their job,” Priya explains of her responsibilities. 

Her day starts early, arriving at the house to check in with the overnight staff and get briefed on how the night went. “I write reports covering issues including the petty cash, logging in all the receipts,” Priya notes of her morning tasks. She then ensures the young people are up and getting ready for their day activities. 

Throughout the morning, Priya is checking in on the different staff members and young people. “Making sure everything gets done,” she says. This may involve resolving any conflicts, addressing any issues that arose overnight, or providing guidance to staff on caring for young people with complex needs. 

In the afternoon, Priya focuses on training and mentoring new staff members. “When people start here, I tend to be the one to mentor them. And tell them how to do things,” she says. She enjoys forming close bonds with her colleagues and helping them learn. 

Evenings bring more responsibilities like handling medications and doing evening checks on the residents. “We just do like the handles in the evening and just make sure the shifts go well,” Priya notes. She works to ensure a smooth transition to the overnight staff. 

By the end of her long day, Priya feels a sense of pride and accomplishment in her role. “I’ve worked very, very hard to get where I am,” she says. Sometimes tiring, she finds the work rewarding knowing she’s making a positive difference in the lives of the young people at the service. 

Finding fulfilment in fostering: Pervina and Manoj

Pervina and Manoj are a vibrant couple whose hearts are filled with the hope of providing a loving home to a child in need. Pervina first harboured the desire to foster, and one day, while scrolling through Facebook, she stumbled upon an advertisement that sparked the idea into reality. 

“It started off as mine,” Pervina shared, “and then Manoj tagged along with it.” 

Their journey into fostering was not without its questions and uncertainties. Pervina reflected, “I’ve always wanted to be a foster carer, but I didn’t quite know what you had to do to become one.” 

Manoj explained that after seeing the advertisement, they discussed it, feeling compelled to share their love and nurture a child who needed their support. 

The couple embarked on the process of becoming foster carers, which Pervina described as “lengthy but needed.” They navigated interviews, background checks, and panels with remarkable dedication and honesty. 

“We just answered everything, whatever they asked,” Manoj explained. “We were just ourselves.” 

Their commitment was met with swift results. Within a few weeks, they were approved and eagerly prepared their home for their first child. Pervina recalled the preparations, making their house safe and welcoming, ensuring it was ready for the child who would soon fill it with laughter and love. 

Their first child arrived promptly, and the couple embraced their new roles with open hearts. Despite the initial challenges, they felt supported by their social workers and Progress. 

“The support there was amazing,” Pervina recalled. “Honestly, fostering has changed our lives.” 

As they adjusted to their new family dynamics, Pervina and Manoj found joy in the chaos of their bustling household. 

“At first, it was just me and Manoj,” Pervina laughed. “Now, the house is messier… but it feels like a family.” 

Their fostering journey was not without its unique challenges. The young person they cared for had specific needs due to a brain injury. Still, Pervina and Manoj found creative ways to communicate and connect, ensuring the child felt at home. 

Looking ahead, Pervina and Manoj shared their aspirations. They hope to support their young person through school and beyond, empowering her to pursue her dreams despite the challenges she faced. 

“My expectations are to help encourage her to get the right apprenticeship, the right college,” Pervina shared, “to make that kind of dream possible and see what our options are.” 

Manoj added, “We’re always there for her… always.” 

In their cosy home, filled with love and laughter, Pervina and Manoj have found fulfilment in fostering. Their hearts expanded as they witnessed the transformation of their house into a home—a place where a child found solace, support, and the promise of a brighter future. 

As they shared their story, Pervina and Manoj’s words echoed with warmth and sincerity, a testament to the profound impact of fostering on their lives and the lives of the children they welcomed into their hearts. 

To learn more about fostering with Progress Fostering Service and how you can become a foster carer, please visit progresscare.co.uk/fostering or contact us directly at 01902 561066. 

Second Chances: A Journey Through Foster Care

This heartfelt poem was written by an 11-year-old under the care of Progress Fostering Service. This young poet beautifully captures their journey and the transformative power of foster care.

My life was no fun

My fears would make me run.

Until out of the blue

I met you.

 

I became a foster child not once but twice

When I hurt myself you gave me ice.

You helped me learn

Everything I get I earn.

 

I am a little bit sad

Sometimes I get a little bit mad.

Me and my brothers would hit and hit

Until one day we got split.

 

We see each other often

We all need a correction.

I’ve learnt a lot of things

And my foster carer says

Teamwork makes the dream work.

 

I do much better now in foster care

I smile most days

I hope you can do a favour

And help people to become more able

And children who have lost hope

And start believing

Bring them in and give them a second chance in life.

 

As we celebrate Foster Care Fortnight, we invite individuals and families in the Midlands who are interested in fostering to join us. Together, we can make a profound difference in the lives of children and young people in need of stability and care.

To learn more about fostering with Progress Fostering Service and how you can become a foster carer, please visit progresscare.co.uk/fostering or contact us directly at 01902 561066.

Celebrating Foster Care Fortnight 2024: Recognising Our Exceptional Foster Carers

As Foster Care Fortnight 2024 officially kicks off today, Progress Fostering Service, an outstanding division of Progress Children’s Services, takes immense pride in celebrating the dedication and impact of our remarkable foster carers. This significant event, running from May 13th to May 26th, is a testament to the profound role foster carers play in transforming the lives of vulnerable children and young people across and beyond the Midlands. 

At Progress Fostering Service, fostering isn’t just a service; it’s our passion and commitment to providing safe, nurturing homes where children can thrive. We are honoured to recognise the outstanding contributions of our foster carers who embody compassion, resilience, and unwavering support for the children in their care. 

Phil O’Brien, Registered Manager of the Fostering Service at Progress Children’s Services, emphasised the significance of Foster Care Fortnight: “This fortnight is a special occasion to shine a light on the incredible work of our foster carers. They truly are unsung heroes, offering stability and love to children who need it the most.” 

Tina Bhardwaj, Head of Children’s Services at Progress, added, “Foster Care Fortnight allows us to showcase the critical importance of fostering and the positive impact it has on vulnerable young people. Our foster carers exemplify the values we hold dearly at Progress: care, trust, respect and progress, and the belief that every child deserves a nurturing home.” 

Bal Dhanoa, CEO of Progress, echoed these sentiments, stating, “We are immensely proud of our Ofsted-rated outstanding fostering service. This recognition reflects our unwavering commitment to providing the highest standards of care and support to both our foster carers and the children entrusted to us.” 

As we celebrate Foster Care Fortnight, we invite individuals and families in the Midlands who are interested in fostering to join us. Together, we can make a profound difference in the lives of children and young people in need of stability and care.

To learn more about fostering with Progress Fostering Service and how you can become a foster carer, please visit progresscare.co.uk/fostering or contact us directly at 01902 561066.

Let us continue to champion the extraordinary efforts of our foster carers and advocate for the transformative power of fostering in our communities.

Unlocking Learning Power: Progress celebrates Learning at Work Week

At Progress, we believe that learning is not just an event but a continuous journey, an ongoing exploration of knowledge and skills that empowers individuals and enriches our collective capabilities. As we kick off Learning at Work Week, we’re excited to delve into this year’s theme: Learning Power. 

This year’s theme, “Learning Power,” resonates deeply with our commitment to fostering a culture of continual learning and development. Learning is more than just acquiring information; it’s about embracing the power to change, grow, and achieve our goals, both personally and professionally. 

At Progress, we’re proud to champion learning at work, providing our employees with the tools, resources, and support they need to thrive. From on-the-job training to professional qualifications, we’re dedicated to helping our team members reach their full potential and pursue their aspirations. 

As part of Learning at Work Week, we’re thrilled to announce a series of bite-sized modules designed to enhance skills and promote well-being. These modules, along with our ongoing commitment to learning and development, underscore our belief in unlocking our workforce’s full potential and supporting our team members to continually deliver industry-leading service quality. 

Learning isn’t just an individual endeavour; it’s a collective experience that brings us together, fosters innovation, and builds stronger connections. Through collaborative learning initiatives and knowledge-sharing sessions, Progress has grown to become a community where everyone can grow and learn from each other. 

As we embark on this week-long celebration of learning, we recommit ourselves to embracing the power of education to inspire, motivate, and empower. Together, we’ll continue to unlock new possibilities, fuelling our growth and driving progress in all that we do. 

Echoes of Excellence: Celebrating Progress’ Exceptionalism

A heartfelt shoutout to the incredible team at Wellcroft House. During my recent visit, the warmth of the house matched the beautiful sunny weather outside. Despite the distractingly delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen, I was delighted to hear that the team members read my emails.

Beyond the culinary delights, I witnessed a team committed to excellence, with a passion for quality, an eye for detail, and a clear vision. Their genuine joy in their work and embodiment of Progress values were evident.

Wellcroft House is not alone in their dedication.

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a team meeting at Portland House, led by Dani and Cosmos. Despite acknowledging the unique challenges they face, Dani spoke passionately about their ethos. “We don’t shy away from difficult cases,” she explained. “We embrace the challenges and remain dedicated to each child’s journey.”

A similar sentiment echoed during my visit to Stourbridge House, where Amanda and her team go above and beyond to support the young people. Their focus goes beyond ticking boxes; they creatively tailor their approach to each individual’s interests, fostering progress and growth.

And when I shared the recent visit of Animal Encounters, Derbyshire to Nightingale House on social media, the pet zoo’s publicly shared feedback was resoundingly positive, further affirming the wonderful work being done by Jacqueline and her team.

As we commemorate International Workers’ Day today, it is obvious that your dedication, resilience, and unwavering commitment to our shared values are the driving force behind our success.

Together, you and your team members have faced challenges head-on, embraced change, and continue to strive for excellence. Your contributions, big and small, make a difference every single day.

Your dedication truly inspires us all. Bal and Claire regularly say that they are honoured to have you as part of the Progress family.

Today, let’s celebrate our achievements, honour our contributions, and look ahead to a future filled with endless possibilities.

Happy International Workers’ Day!

Warm regards,

Paul

Content and Communications Executive, Progress

Celebrating Outstanding Achievements: Heartwarming Updates and Recognitions

We are delighted to share the remarkable acknowledgements recently received by two of our residential homes, Regis House and Portland House, in recognition of the exceptional efforts of our team members.

During a recent visit, Martina, a family links worker with the Birmingham Children’s Trust, expressed her admiration for Regis House, describing it as a welcoming family environment that surpasses typical expectations of a children’s home. Annette, our Registered Manager, extended her gratitude to Martina and highlighted the home’s commitment to embodying a family-like atmosphere.

Martina commended the calm and welcoming atmosphere she experienced, underscoring the positive impact Regis House has on its residents. Notably, one of our young individuals at Regis House has achieved significant personal growth by independently managing tasks such as ordering and paying for meals and tickets. We applaud their achievements and ongoing progress.

Similarly, the team at Portland House has received high praise for their dedication and impact on the lives of the young individuals in their care. Feedback specifically highlighted Dani’s (Registered Manager) extraordinary commitment and compassion towards the young people, underscoring the profound positive influence she and her team have on their well-being.

“I did cry, and I’ve not stopped after my visit to Portland House. The passion of Dani, and the way she cares for her young people, was incredibly inspiring. In a world where so many people turn their backs on challenging young persons, people like Dani are saving them, loving them and showing whole hearted commitment to improving their lives. WOW. She really did make an impact on me and I hope my praises can be passed on to her.”

Such testimonials reaffirm our collective dedication to improving lives and making a lasting difference.

New Additions to Progress

This week, four amazing persons officially joined Progress. Libby has joined the fostering team as an administrator, Nsan joined our Adult Services as a Residential Support Worker while Tadie, a Residential Support Worker, has joined Progress Children’s Services.

We also have a new addition to our Corporate and Commercial Team. Susan is the Digital Learning Designer. In a statement, Angeline Freer, Progress’ Head of Corporate and Commercial Services, said Susan brings a wealth of experience of developing e-learning.

“I am really excited to see how Susan’s career progresses and have no doubt her contributions will help the organisation to continue improving lives,” Angeline said.

Welcome to Progress.

Empowering and Amplifying Children’s Voices at Progress

Supporting the young people under the care of Progress extends far beyond mere rhetoric; it’s a fundamental ethos deeply embedded within our values. Every day, we actively seek innovative ways to empower each individual and provide platforms for expression, ensuring their voices resonate throughout Progress. 

This week, we are thrilled to showcase two pioneering initiatives aimed at fostering communication and nurturing essential life skills among the young people we have the privilege to support: the introduction of a small post box and the re-launch of the Voices of Progress initiative. 

Angeline Freer, Head of Corporate and Commercial Services at Progress recently donated a vibrant red post box, to facilitate an exciting avenue for interactive expression. Angeline purchased the post box as she recognised its potential to spark young people’s imaginations and build skills for everyday life. Being small in stature, the small post box delivers inclusivity for wheelchair users and those who’s height does not enable them to reach a normal post box. 

Angeline envisions the post box facilitating a wide range of activities, offering young people the opportunity to deposit letters, cards, and feedback. Cultural festivals and birthdays etc. prompt the children to convey messages to their families, caregivers, or support network, fostering a sense of independence and agency, along with feedback on our services during Voices of Progress events. Located at our Resources Centre, the box is accessible to young people across Progress’ diverse services. 

Beyond its practical function, the post box serves as a vital tool for skill development. Simple tasks like mailing a letter can pose challenges for some children and adolescents. Engaging in this activity not only cultivates communication skills but also provides insight into the workings of the postal system, fostering a deeper connection to the community through meaningful participation. 

The post box’s arrival has sparked curiosity and enthusiasm, reinforcing Progress’ unwavering commitment to nurturing young people’s growth. This innovative addition provides a unique platform for children to share their perspectives, thereby bolstering their confidence in articulating their thoughts. 

Voices of Progress 

During a recent event hosted by Progress’ outstanding fostering service, children were invited to express their thoughts about their foster carers. This week, we are privileged to share the heartfelt messages of four children, accompanied by poignant reflections from the fostering service highlighting each child’s individuality. 

This initiative underscores Progress’ steadfast dedication to amplifying the voices of every child and young person under our care, ensuring that their experiences are heard, valued, and prioritised.

World Autism Awareness Day: Progress’ autism-aware approach

Tuesday 2 April 2024 is World Autism Awareness Day

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.

Autism is a lifelong neurological condition that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status. The term Autism Spectrum refers to a range of characteristics. Appropriate support, accommodation and acceptance of this neurological variation allow those on the Spectrum to enjoy equal opportunity, and full and effective participation in society.

Autism is mainly characterised by its unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information.

The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high and the lack of understanding has a tremendous impact on the individuals, their families and communities.

The stigmatisation and discrimination associated with neurological differences remain substantial obstacles to diagnosis and therapies, an issue that must be addressed by both public policymakers in developing nations, as well as donor countries.

700,000

There are 700,000 autistic people in the UK – that’s more than 1 in 100. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.

30%

Just 30% of autistic adults in the UK are in any form of paid employment. This is amongst the lowest rates of employment for people with additional needs or disabilities.

3x

Autism is 3 times more prevalent in boys than girls. Signs of autism in girls can present themselves differently and as a result can be misdiagnosed or missed leading to more boys getting a diagnosis.

Progress’ autism-aware approach to interior design

“Colours can have a profound impact, especially for children with autism. We strive to create adaptable spaces where colours can be changed to suit individual preferences, ensuring the environment remains stimulating and comforting.” 

At the core of Progress’ approach to interior design is the concept of sensory design. We utilise principles such as space, colour, texture, form, and light to create spaces that meet the unique sensory requirements of the children they care for. These principles are not just about aesthetics; they are fundamental in addressing the sensory needs of the children.

Preet Anand, founder of Mood Interiors, has been instrumental in redefining the role of interior design at Progress’ homes. Preet and her team approach each Progress project by understanding the specific needs of the children. She described it as a comprehensive process that takes into account the individual requirements of each child.

In sensory design, colour plays a pivotal role. Preet says, “Colours can have a profound impact, especially for children with autism. We strive to create adaptable spaces where colours can be changed to suit individual preferences, ensuring the environment remains stimulating and comforting.”

University of Wolverhampton Acknowledges Enduring Partnership with Progress

The University of Wolverhampton’s Social Work Department has proudly acknowledged its enduring partnership with Progress, marking four years of collaboration since 2020, and eight years specifically with the Progress Fostering Service. This partnership has become integral to the university’s social work education programme, providing students with invaluable real-world experience and mentorship.

At the heart of this collaboration is the mutual commitment to nurturing the next generation of social workers. Progress has consistently provided exemplary support, allowing students to develop their knowledge, skills, values, and overall capabilities. This partnership ensures that students receive comprehensive training to engage positively with both children and adults, a fundamental aspect of social work practice.

The social work process, from making referrals to carrying out assessments and interventions, mirrors the operations within social care providers like Progress. Through hands-on experience, students learn essential skills in working with children, young adults, vulnerable individuals and families, including risk management and support planning.

One of the key strengths of this partnership lies in its emphasis on practical learning. Progress facilitates opportunities for students to liaise with various agencies, honing their ability to collaborate and share information effectively. Additionally, students benefit from structured supervision and monitoring, ensuring they receive the support necessary for their growth and development.

Deborah Sharman, Practice Placement Development Worker at the University of Wolverhampton, expressed gratitude for Progress’ unwavering dedication to social work education.

“The contribution of Progress to the quality of social work education is invaluable. We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone at Progress for their ongoing support and commitment to shaping the future of our profession,” Deborah said.

Phil Mcdonald, Head of Adult Services at Progress expressed Progress’ joy in supporting social work students, especially in the area of gaining experience.

“We are more than happy to support students in gaining invaluable frontline experience, mentoring them specifically around the importance of relationships and how they can navigate challenges that can present themselves in working in social care and specifically social work.  Our partnership with the University of Wolverhampton has been consistent and vital to supporting the next generation of social workers,” Phil said.

Progress’ dedication to nurturing talent and fostering excellence in social work education is commendable. As the University of Wolverhampton continues to prioritise practical, hands-on learning experiences for its students, collaborations like this one will remain essential in preparing the next generation of social workers to make a positive impact in their communities.