Welcome to Young Merton Together – Director of Merton Children’s Services Rachael Wardell
In this edition I am very pleased to be able to bring you the new Children and Young People’s Plan for 2019-23 – My Family, My Future, My Merton. This sets out and will drive progress against a set of objectives shared by Children’s Trust partners, to improve the lives of our children and young people and their families across all aspects for their lives. It also states our shared vision to make Merton: A place where children and young people feel they belong, stay safe and thrive.
For the first time, the development of our Children and Young People’s Plan was directed and co-produced by Merton’s Young Inspectors. It is based on a set of strategic objectives which directly respond to and address the expressed needs of over 1200 young people who took part in an in depth survey, conducted at the start of 2019. Children and young people will also have a central role in monitoring and evaluating progress against the plan for which we, as staff, practitioners and professionals across the Children’s Trust are all accountable.
Over the coming editions of Young Merton Together we will be running feature articles on the exciting and impactful work being delivered, to achieve the objectives in the six outcome areas of the Children and Young People’s Plan. This newsletter will keep you up to date on progress against each one, giving you information about effective approaches to practice, and enabling you to broaden your knowledge and understanding of the range of services and resources that are available to support children, young people and their families, to enhance integrated partnership working.
In this edition, under ‘Being Healthy’ we give an update on the School Super Zones project which aims to improve how areas around schools can promote the health and well-being of the school and local community. For ‘Staying Safe’ we include information about the schools’ PSHE network with a call out to schools to get involved, to help them prepare for the upcoming statutory requirements for RSE (relationships and sex education). Our ‘enjoying and achieving’ section includes a focus on the work of the Merton Information and Advice for SEN and Disabilities Service – you can find out about the scope of their offer and a recent success for one young person and family supported by the service.
Merton’s youth parliament has been ‘Getting Involved and Having a Say’ about the council’s work to tackle the climate emergency; while the My Futures team, featured in the ‘Becoming Independent’ section, continues to offer its holistic and young person-centred approach to supporting vulnerable young people’s engagement in education, training and employment. Finally, we hear about the Disability M-Card and some new concessions that are available for families with children with SEN and/ or disabilities. This is an example of work under the ‘My Merton: community connections’ section of the Children and Young People's Plan.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas period and hope that you will find time for some rest and recuperation. I look forward to an energised New Year where we can continue to work hard to support our children and families so they know our borough is a place where they belong, stay safe and can thrive.
My Family, My Future, My Merton
Merton's Children's Trust is very pleased to be able to present our new Children and Young People's Plan: My Family, My Future, My Merton. The four year plan sets out the strategic priorities for securing improvements to the well-being of children and young people, which will be delivered by Children's Trust partners through our multi-agency partnership approach. The plan commits to priorities under six outcome areas - Being Healthy, Staying Safe, Enjoying and Achieving, Making a Positive Contribution, Achieving Economic Wellbeing, and Feeling Connected (family, friends and the community) - with the aim of making Merton:
'A place where children and young people feel they belong, stay safe and can thrive'.
As a demonstration of our commitment to the participation and engagement of children and young people across Merton we handed the development of our key multi-agency plan for children’s services over to children and young people themselves, led by our Young Inspectors. This began with a survey which went out to secondary schools in the borough and received nearly 1300 responses, as well as discussion groups with children and young people with SEN and/ or disabilities, with primary aged children, and with parents of children using early years services.
The final version of the plan was then put together with the Young Inspectors making sure that the strategic objectives of the plan address children and young people’s views and concerns. The plan has bee adopted by Merton Council and can be read here:
Merton Children and Young People's Plan.