September 17 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Staff at a west Norfolk children’s home - which has secured a hat-trick of outstanding Ofsted inspections - pride themselves on it being unlike most children’s homes you might have visited.
In fact, it’s so different that staff would rather it was not called a children’s home at all, in case people got the wrong impression.
In the Ofsted report, Marshfields in West Lynn received praise across the board for its quality of care, children’s achievements and leadership and management.
About 36 children aged from five to 18 stay at the home, which is run by Norfolk County Council, and is similar to Doctor Who’s Tardis, as it does not look big from the outside, but is huge inside.
The home provides short-breaks for up to four children at a time and caters for young people with a range of disabilities and needs.
About 37 staff look after the children and assistant manager Claire Pooley said: “We try to make it really homely with a home environment.
“While we have to use the name children’s home parents say it’s different to what they expected.
“We don’t call it a children’s home - instead, we say we provide a short break for children. For some of the children aged 14 or 15 it’s like a long sleepover. Young people can make friends here and they get to know the staff really well. We see the children grow up.
“What makes Marshfields is the committed team of staff. For staff it’s not just a job. They are dedicated, put themselves out, and cover in the absence of other staff.”
Many of the children that stay over attend Churchill Park School in Lynn during the day, but others come from as far away as Sheringham.
The four bedrooms at the home are done up for each individual child to match their personalities.
At present, one of the boys likes Bob the Builder so his room is decorated with that, while one girl likes pink and another likes One Direction, whose photographs adorn her room.
The home’s team manager Nicola King said they were already looking at how to further develop services over the next year.
Inspectors visited the home in December and spoke to children, parents, staff and social workers.
They found that young people who stayed at the home received a boost in their independence and confidence, and had access to opportunities they might not otherwise enjoy.
James Joyce, cabinet member for safeguarding children at Norfolk County Council, said: “Marshfields is a brilliant example of partnership work in action, with staff from the home working alongside schools, parents and social workers to support children’s needs and ensure a joined-up approach to their care.”
Marshfields is due for a revamp in April when it will receive an extension and its conservatory will double in size.
Do you know of a success story in West Norfolk that we can cover in the paper? Email reporter David Bale at email@example.com