Evening Groups

Evening Groups provide activity-based therapeutic group work for young people who are referred by other agencies working with young people in Swindon, such as Children's Services and schools. In Evening Groups, STEP works with up to 200 children and young people each year, providing support and life management skills to some of the most vulnerable in our community. This work is funded by Swindon Borough Council.


HOW STEP WORKS


REFERRAL PROCESS

Children and young people can be referred by an adult who knows them well, for example a social worker, teacher or school nurse. We prefer an Early Help Record (EHR), Initial Assessment or Core Assessment but we do have our own referral form that can be filled out—please request one (contact details overleaf). Once a referral is received, it is assessed and the STEP team will allocate the young person to the project they feel is most appropriate. The project they attend is only confirmed after the first two face-to-face sessions, as we can then be sure it is suitable.

 REASONS TO REFER

Children and young people are referred to STEP for many different reasons, including: friendship issues, bullying, struggling at school, anger, stress, anti-social behaviour, low self-esteem, poor communication and making unsafe choices.

GROUPS

Therapeutic Service – Evening Groups

Young people aged 9 - 18 years old complete a 14 week programme, with progress reviewed regularly to see whether they need further work. Sessions are tailor-made to meet the identified needs of young people, who each set their own targets to work on. Key therapeutic aims include; Managing anger, Stress management skills, Managing risk, Dealing with difficult situations, Communication skills, Working with others (teamwork), Friendships / Peer pressures, Keeping safe (home, school, community), Healthy Lifestyles (food & exercise), Appreciating your personal qualities / skills (learning to like you for who you are).

Young people attend one group per week, 6-8pm. Minibus transport is provided within the main areas of Swindon. Unfortunately, if a young person is unable to attend on a particular evening, we cannot usually accommodate swapping due to the careful allocation based on group theme, risk, numbers, needs and/or abilities of young people.

At the moment, we are also running a specific 5 STEP’s to well-being group in line with the Government initiative of introducing these simple strategies to your life: Connect – talk and listen to the people around you; your friends and family. Spend time developing these relationships. Be active – find an activity that you enjoy; staying energised enhances your mood. Keep learning – embrace new experiences; new skills can give you a sense of achievement and more confidence...you might surprise yourself! Give – even the smallest act of kindness towards others can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a compliment. Your time, words and presence often mean more than you think. Take notice—be aware / mindful of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Don’t take things for granted, and remember the simple things which make you happy. This can give you a positive outlook when you approach new challenges.

Junior STEP – evening group

Junior STEP is a 14 week programme to support children aged 7 – 9 years at primary school. The group provides a nurturing, stable and safe environment with the same children on the same evening, with the same workers. This enables children to develop meaningful and trusting relationships with both adult workers and their peers, providing a positive social outlet to make friends, learn new skills, express feelings and build confidence.

Children attend one group per week 6-7.30pm, plus transport which is provided within the main areas of Swindon. Saturday Group – daytime group Specifically for young people with disabilities aged 10 -18 years old. Young people attend every other Saturday 11am – 1.30pm. Minibus transport is provided.

The project offers a combination of centre-based group work sessions structured by session plans, with activities such as visits to parks, leisure and community facilities. Young people are given the opportunity to participate in sessions using a mixture of discussion, role play, activities and games focusing on the development of identified personal targets. Sport, games, art, drama, music and cooking are used as a framework for delivery.

BOUNDARIES

 Every young person is taught the ‘STEP boundaries’, which include no physical contact, show respect, no bullying, confidentiality, taking part etc. These are essential to maintain a safe and supportive environment where young people can be themselves and feel secure. Young people sign to say they will adhere to the boundaries and a large part of being at STEP is to learn how to keep to them - a valuable skill for getting on well in other areas of their lives

DISCIPLINARY AND REWARD SYSTEM

STEP uses a disciplinary and reward system as a therapeutic tool. It gives children and young people tangible consequences to their actions to promote positive behaviour and encourage them to find the right solutions to their issues/difficulties.

As a reward for meeting targets, good work, regular attendance and remaining within group boundaries, young people are invited to an end of group celebration where certificates are presented and parents/carers and referrers can see the achievements that have been made. There is also the possibility each session to earn a green card for exceptionally good behaviour or significant progress.

If a boundary is broken, the disciplinary system works as follows: the young person will firstly receive a verbal warning and be given a reason why. They will also be offered time-out, which means they can spend a few minutes away from the group if they want to, in the designated quiet / chill-out room. If they repeat that behaviour again, they are issued with a yellow card. If they then receive another yellow card at any time, it equates to a red card, and they will be suspended from the group, usually for one week. This gives the young person time to think about their behaviour and commitment to STEP. In the case of dangerous or violent behaviour, a young person will be immediately issued with a red card and usually taken straight home. In some instances, a young person may be asked to leave STEP altogether because their behaviour is too much of a risk or disruption to others.


 





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