A new service has opened in Salford to help prevent children in care from being placed in homes outside the city.
Route 29 is a new hub designed by former children in care for youngsters at risk Salford.
It’s based on the ‘No Wrong Door’ scheme which has been operating in North Yorkshire and other areas.
Around 580 children and young people are currently in care in Salford, and instead of going to a children’s home, the hub will aim to give those young people access to the professional support they need including a clinical psychologist, police, speech and language therapist and long-serving key workers.
One of the young people involved in shaping the new service, who wanted to stay anonymous, said: “We have gone through the system and wanted to use our experience to make it better for young people.
“Rather than let somebody else choose for us, we have made the decisions. It’s completely different, we had to get it right and we were listened to.
“As a child in care you don’t always feel safe. You need the right staff, with the right skills, attitude and support from other professionals to work with each child and get the best experience for them.”
If necessary, children can stay overnight at Route 29 on a short term basis, but usually they would stay at home and get help from the hub during the day, for as long as they need it.
Former kids in care have been heavily involved in the new service from the start.
They choose the name Route29, were involved in the interview process for staff and choose the design and the furniture for the interior of the hub.
Councillor John Merry, Deputy Mayor of Salford and Lead Member for Children’s and Young People’s Services, said: “The important thing is we are empowering these young people, giving them an opportunity to do something, it’s part of the support we want to give to this group as a whole.
“It’s really important we work with these people, people will say why are you spending money here, well we are making them into productive members in society which in the end will save money.
“What we don’t want to do is sort of this vicious cycle, whereby, they go into care, they don’t feel they’ve got a future and they get involved in activity of a criminal nature or anything like that. We want to divert young people into areas which are going to be valuable to Salford, not ones which will ultimately mean there’s an extra cost to the people of Salford.”