The Stay Connected team are focused on ensuring that young people feel and are supported as they prepare to move back into the community. The team support young people as they are preparing to leave the centre and keep in touch regularly through the Stay Connected Plan when they move on. This plan is designed to enhance the work that is being carried out by the professionals within the community and offer support from GSC staff who young people have developed positive relationships with.
The Stay Connected plan ensures that the young people receive phone calls, visits or any other form of practical and emotional support required for a minimum of twelve weeks. This can be extended if it is felt that the young person will benefit from this.
More recently, through discussion with young people and staff, the team were made aware that young people also preferred to use social media as a point of contact.
We decided that there had to be a further way to support young people that have moved on in a way that was easy, accessible, and safe particularly as lockdown began to impact young people. Therefore, the stay connected team researched and took guidance in relation to what is required to have a robust secure Facebook page. This would allow young people and staff to maintain relationships that have been developed within the GSC and to continue when the young people move back into the community. This initiative has proven to be very successful where we currently have 173 members consisting of young people and staff. The group continues to grow as young people move on and access the supports through the Stay Connected team.
The young people that move on also have access to the Stay Connected mobile number and messenger where they can call, text, or facetime the team. This has also proven to be very successful particularly with young people that may not feel comfortable talking on the phone. Facetime also has been helpful through lockdown, allowing young people the opportunity to talk to staff face to face.