I am so pleased the Voice and listening to young people is at the centre of The Promise, as it has for many years been at the centre of my work and I have seen first-hand the rewards that can be reaped.  Developing and managing Why Not? then returning to my roots as a manager in a residential house has allowed me the opportunities to keep the voice of young people at the centre of what I do.  Supporting and empowering other than always simply doing for, prepares our young people for life and gives them skills they can be proud of. 

In Why Not? we developed a maps and paths experience, which allowed young people to bring together those who would support them when they left the residential setting and put in place a support plan for their future.  The feedback from the process was very positive and I was keen to support the approach.   When I got the opportunity to undertake further Person-Centred Thinking training facilitated by The Helen Sanderson Associates, I jumped at the opportunity.   

Person-Centred Thinking tools are a set of easy to use templates that help to give structure and a fuller narrative within conversations. Implementing them is a practical way to capture information that feeds into assessment, care, and support planning, as well as to improve communication, relationships and better understand a young person needs. 

I first met Lucas in November 2020. He is 19 years old and lives in our house. Lucas was keen to be proactive in his care plan and I embraced this. Initially, we spent time together thinking about how he would like his care plan to look and what information it should hold, and what he would like someone to learn about him when they read it. I implemented some of the tools from the Person-Centred Thinking training to help facilitate these discussions. It was important for Lucas that his care plan was easy to read, not too lengthy and that a sense of who he is shines through the words.  

We decided to work on a One Page Profile for Lucas. A One Page Profile is a single document that gives insight into who a person is by detailing what others appreciate about them, what is important to them and how best they can be supported. Lucas describes this experience as being fun and easy to understand. He felt that what matters to him was a priority and he fully led the process, rather than being a passive recipient. As part of the One Page Profile, there is an emphasis on ‘the little things that matter’ equating to a larger meaning. For example, it is important for Lucas to stick to his routine of getting up at a reasonable time in the morning then having a shower and listening to upbeat music. This might seem like such small details but for Lucas, the start of his day can determine how his mental health is managed throughout the rest of the day.  

We also held a Mapping Day for Lucas. Creating a Map through person-centred planning is an approach to help you find direction when you are feeling unsure how to move forward or what you want your future to look like. Lucas identified the most significant people in his life, and we invited them along to a virtual meeting. This was a warm, lively, and inclusive meeting and there was lots of fun and laughter when sharing memories of Lucas. He really loved this experience of having all the important people in his life together and focused on him. It was important for Lucas to see how much people care about him and are looking out for him. As a group, we explored Lucas’ wishes for the future and his goals, hopes and dreams as he moves into adulthood. Lucas spoke of his dream to have a dog, and for the dog to live with him in our house, then move with him when he is ready for his next life chapter. Lucas’ dream of having a dog living in our House led to me putting a proposal together to consider the possibility of making his dream a reality. Lucas now has his own dog who is living with one of his significant adults and is a regular visitor to our house.  

After the Mapping Day, we used a tool called What is Working/Not Working. The tool helps to analyse information and plan for action. The What’s working/not working day helped to consider Lucas’ current circumstances, and what he is happy with and what is going well, and what needs to change. From this, we noted small, achievable goals to work towards to achieve desired outcomes. We chose three main goals to focus on over the next month when they would then be reviewed. The number of goals was purposefully limited to ensure they were proportionate, achievable, and manageable, and so as not to overwhelm Lucas. 

Lucas says: 

“The house is homely and cares about their young people.” 

“It was easy to understand and fun to do.” 

“Maps are great it gets all the care team important to you together and it’s fun to do.” 

At Care Visions, the type of person-centred thinking explained is integral in our Roots to Growth Practice Framework and I look forward to continuing to use and develop this approach with all young people. 

*written in collaboration and name changed, with agreement, for confidentiality purposes.