This #CareDay19 we talk about our Staying on Track service
At Break, we make life better for vulnerable young people across East Anglia. We provide a range of services to help young people in care and moving on, children with disabilities and families who need support.
Today is #CareDay19 a celebrtion of care-experienced young people. We would like to showcase Break’s Staying on Track service. This service is available to young people who have left or are about to leave the care system. It aims to help young people to have more stability and support at what can be a scary time. Thanks to funding through the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Break is able to offer this free service to care leavers in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK by funding the charitable work of organisations that are building an inclusive, creative and sustainable society.
Break is delighted to have received funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and it helps the charity to continue to improve its provision for care leavers. Rachel Leslie, project manager, said “Care leavers were telling us that they needed more help in feeling prepared for independent living. They wanted to feel more emotionally ready and have links with other care experienced young people to help them. Thanks to Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Break is now delivering this vital support. It will help them to feel more confident going forward and help them move to independent living successfully.”
The Emotional Wellbeing Service, delivered by Break Family Centre, is available to care leavers aged 16 and over. This support is to help care leavers prepare for transitions, such as moving into independent living, becoming a parent, or starting employment. Sessions will provide them with a safe and confidential space, tailored to meet the young person’s individual needs and preferences; this might be to help them understand and manage their emotions, process past experiences or develop positive coping strategies. This will enable them to feel more positive on a day-to-day basis, maintain healthy relationships, and successfully engage with education, employment or training.
Break’s Emotional Wellbeing team: left to right: Jessica Myhill, Fay Danesh and Laura Hughes
Break’s Emotional Wellbeing Practitioners work at a variety of locations across Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, here’s what they had to say this #CareDay19
“I like this service because it is reaching those young people who could potentially be missed and who do not meet the threshold for NHS mental health services. I feel it gives an important safe space for the young person to focus on their emotional wellbeing throughout the difficult transition from being in care to becoming an independent adult. This service is great because it is completely led by the young person and individualised to their needs.” – Jessica Myhill
“This service is a great, flexible way of working together with young care leavers, who might need some extra support. I think that historically there has been a gap in services for young care leavers and there is a real need for this service now. I really enjoy meeting with the young people each week and like the fact that we are able to get to locations close to where the young person is living. This helps the young people feel safe and relaxed in sessions.” – Fay Danesh
“Having worked with care leavers for a number of years, I’ve seen first-hand the impact it can have upon this particular group of young people if their emotional wellbeing is low, and I’m so pleased we’ve got funding to address this issue. I love that this service can be flexible to work around the young people. If a young person doesn’t want to ‘just talk’, we can do handmade projects together, play games, go for walks – essentially, anything that gives them a safe space to be heard.” – Laura Hughes
Break are delighted to announce that MENTA has chosen Break as its charity partner for 2019.
MENTA is a multi-award winning not-for-profit company – not a membership
organisation. They provide business advice, business skills training, bespoke business courses and networking opportunities. Their services help grow your business.
MENTA has invited Break to its networking events, Coffee Means Business in Woodbridge, Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill during the year and the charity will exhibit at the MENTA Business Show on Tuesday 1st October at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds.
CEO of MENTA, Alex Till said, “I’m delighted MENTA will be partnering with Break during 2019. They are providing vital services and support to those who really need it.”
Michael Rooney, Head of Commercial Services at Break said, “We are thrilled to be working with MENTA as their charity partner for 2019. We look forward to raising awareness of how businesses, their staff and individuals can make a difference to vulnerable children’s lives by volunteering and fundraising for Break.”
For over 50 years Break has been working tirelessly to help young people in care and moving on, children with disabilities, families in need of support and children at risk.
Hilary Richards Break’s CEO said “As Break continues to grow and diversify to meet changing needs, this is the perfect time for us to recruit. We are looking for a variety of Trustees that want to help improve the lives of young people in our community. We look forward to welcoming our new Trustees who will join our experienced skilled managers and longstanding Board.”
Frank Shippam, one of Break’s Trustees said “Being a Break Trustee has been a fascinating, challenging and hugely rewarding experience for me. I have learnt many lessons from the charity’s employees and fellow Trustees and am proud that I have made a contribution to the brilliant work Break undertakes in changing young lives.”
Break welcomes CV applications from individuals with strategic and clear thinking skills, the ambition and dedication to drive Break forward, and ability to contribute effectively as part of a team and with innovative ideas.
The Trustee positions are on a voluntary basis with appropriate expenses reimbursed. For further details or to view the full job description visit
To find out more about becoming a Trustee email Sally Butler for an applicant pack email@example.com
The closing date for applications is midnight on Monday 18th February 2019. Interviews will take place on Thursday 7th March 2019.
Staff and members of the public were invited to pop into one of the Hays Travel branches to donate new toys, gift sets, toiletries, household goods, stationery items and books.
It was the firm’s sixth annual Santa’s Sleigh appeal to help vulnerable children, young people and families supported by the charity across East Anglia.
Break’s CEO, Hilary Richards said: “It is overwhelming to see so many kind gifts and toys donated. These gifts will be wrapped and given to so many deserving families, children and young people who have moved on from care.”
Branch manager of Hays Travel Aylsham and appeal coordinator, Jo Dobbie said: “All of us at Hays Travel are so appreciative of everyone who supported us with this appeal and would like to say thank you.”
We've put together 50 stories for 50 years!
On Wednesday 28th November, Break celebreates 50 years of changing young lives. We've put together 50 stories of young people and families who have come though Break's doors.
We hope that you enjoy reading and discovering more about Break and the young people we've supported over the past 50 years.
From supporting children from Chernobyl in Ukraine, who came for a health-restoring break in Sheringham in the 1990s to stories from parents who have enjoyed a welcoming break from the 24/7 demands of caring for a child with complex needs.
All of these are true stories and many of them are in the contributors' own words. Some names have been changed to protect our young people's identities.
Rachel supports young people as they leave residential care
On Tuesday 13th November, Break's Project Implementation Manager, Rachel Leslie tells her story and shares her views on the challenges young people face as they leave residential care at just 18.
"I wonder what it is like not knowing where you will live when you turn 18; not knowing what is in front of you, your future and where you are going, whether the people who stand next to you and make you feel safe will disappear from your lives because you’ve got to move on. When I left home at a similar age it felt so different; it was so supported and safe. Tonight I will be tucking into home-cooked food with my Mum and Dad, sleeping in my old room that I left when I was 18; that’s 24 years ago."
Head over and take a look at the full article with the Social Care Institute for Excellence now.
Thanks to the 'Staying Close, Staying Connected' project.
At 18 years old, young care leavers prepare to make the transition from their children’s homes to independent adult living. This can be a scary time for most teenagers but with the help and support of ‘Staying Close, Staying Connected’, care leavers can look to the future with hope, knowing they no longer have to face life’s milestones alone.
‘Staying Close, Staying Connected’ is a pilot housing scheme and package of support delivered in partnership with regional children’s charity Break, and Cambridgeshire and Norfolk County Councils. The scheme has been made possible by a grant of 1.3 million awarded to Break by the Department for Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Fund.
On Friday 28 September, Break officially opened its first ‘Moving on House’ in Cambridge. The event was attended by senior managers from the Cambridgeshire Children and Young People’s Service, Trustees and members of the Break leadership team, as well as young people who are already part of the project and local partner representatives.
The home is already occupied by two of Break’s young care leavers and was officially opened by Councillor Simon Bywater of Cambridgeshire County Council. Simon, Chairman of the Children and Young Peoples Committee said, “I’m really pleased to open Thorleye Road. The house provides a vital stepping stone from residential care to independent living for young people leaving care in Cambridge. The Staying Close, Staying Connected project supports young people across Cambridgeshire and Norfolk helping them to develop life skills and fulfilling the role of an extended family for young care leavers, providing them with support as they make the transition into young adulthood.”
Rachel Cowdry, Break’s Director of Care and Development said “We know leaving home can be difficult at the best of times, and when a young person has been in care, it can be very challenging. This project, Staying Close, Staying Connected, aims to support young people on this journey. With our partners, including Cambridge City Council who have been very proactive in sourcing properties for us, we endeavour to walk alongside young people and ease the transition."
The project focuses on young people from Cambridgeshire and Norfolk but it is hoped that it will become nationally recognised as best practice in support for young care leavers.
The funding will pay for a pilot project in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to test out effective ways to support children leaving care until March 2020.
Young care leavers in west Norfolk will benefit from a new housing scheme and package of support that will help them to make the transition from their children’s home to independent adult living with the opening of the first ‘Staying Close, Staying Connected’ home in Kings Lynn. The house was officially opened by Jarone Macklin-Page, age 29 (a Break care leaver and Actor) on Friday 18 May. It will be home to three young care leavers.
Staying Close, Staying Connected is a partnership between regional children’s charity Break, Norfolk County Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. The aim is to change the way young care leavers are supported, by putting a framework around them when they leave their children’s home including housing, peer-to-peer support, mentoring, help with independent living skills and emotional support. Young care leavers have traditionally been some of the most vulnerable young people in society experiencing high levels of homelessness, isolation and mental health issues. ‘Staying Close, Staying Connected’ aims to address these issues and to fulfil the role of an extended family for young care leavers, supporting them for as long as they need.
The project focuses on young people from Cambridgeshire and Norfolk but it is hoped that it will become nationally recognised as best practice in support for young care leavers moving on from residential care.
The scheme has been made possible by a grant of 1.3 million awarded to Break by the Children’s Social Care Innovation Fund which aims to develop more effective ways of supporting vulnerable children, specifically those leaving children’s homes.
The project aims to open 20 houses in the next two years supporting 70 young people across the region.
Rachel Cowdry, Director of Business Development at Break says “This is a landmark moment for this very important project that will transform radically the support for young care leavers. We are really excited to be able to work in partnership with Norfolk County Council and Cambridgeshire County Council to support some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities. Break has already been supporting our own care leavers for six years through our Moving On Team and this builds on the experience we have built up in this area. The need to support young people who have lived in care has been evident for many years. These young adults are much more likely, than their peers, to struggle in all aspects of their lives such as finding and sustaining work, physical and mental health, and building positive relationships.”
Break featured in Sunday Times Best Companies list 2018
Regional children, young people and family's charity Break features in the Sunday Times Best Companies List, ranking number 15 in the Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to work for. The list, which features not for profit organisations from across the UK, recognises the charity’s commitment to personal development, family friendly working and a culture of celebrating the achievements of the young people and families it supports.
Scoring highly in the following areas, my manager, personal growth and my team, Break has also achieved 2 star accreditation for outstanding levels of workplace engagement. The charity works in a number of different areas including services for children in care, young people leaving care, children and young people with disabilities and families who need support.
The Best Companies List is based on a series of employee engagement surveys and captures how people genuinely feel about working for their organisations.
82% agreed that Break offer staff a comprehensive training plan with a range of mandatory and developmental programmes available. Break has its own accreditation centre to deliver work-based qualifications at levels 3 and 5 enabling personal growth for staff.
Break works hard to ensure that employees have a positive work/life balance and that consideration is given to colleague’s wellbeing in recognition of the challenging nature of some of the work. In the survey, 92% agreed that their team is fun to work with.
Break is run on strong values where employees have a clear sense of purpose and understanding of the direct impact their work will have on the children, young people and families they support. In 2018, the charity celebrates 50 years of changing young lives.
Hilary Richards, CEO of Break says, “This is a great achievement for our staff who work hard to create a great working environment. Break strives to provide staff with benefits to enhance their working and home life including flexible working and school hour contracts. It also shows our workforce are motivated by our overall ethos, to support vulnerable children, young people and families.”
Norfolk based children’s charity Break celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018 with a series of special events through the year, including the GoGoHares Sculpture Trail to be unveiled during summer.
The charity was founded in 1968 by Judith Davison, her late husband, Geoffrey, and Rev. Leslie Morley initially to provide respite short breaks for vulnerable children and their families, starting with holiday centres Rainbow and Sandcastle in Sheringham and Hunstanton. The overall ethos of the charity remains unchanged; to ensure vulnerable children, young people and families receive the support they need to flourish and grow.
Since 1968, Break has grown to be a significant regional charity and now provides homes for looked after children through small scale children’s homes and a fostering service; homes and respite breaks for children with disabilities and learning disabilities; and support for children and families in the community through the Break Family Centre. The charity has also developed expertise in supporting young people leaving the formal care system at 18 with its Moving On Team and is now pioneering a model of support for young care leavers that has the potential to be rolled out nationally through the Staying Close, Staying Connected project. It also undertakes specialist support and assessment work for children at risk.
Break features in the Sunday Times Best Companies List, at number fifteen in the Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work For, in recognition of a commitment to personal development, family friendly working and a culture of celebrating the achievements of the young people it supports
The work Break does is partly supported by individuals who regularly fundraise for the charity as well as a network of corporate supporters naming the organisation as charity of the year or staging fundraising events. The charity has a network of over 50 shops which provide valuable volunteering opportunities for over 900 people.
In partnership with Wild in Art, Break has brought popular sculpture trails to Norwich with GoGoGorillas in 2013 and GoGoDragons in 2015, which also raised funds for the charity. This summer will see the GoGoHares trail revealed featuring 50 city Hares and 15 county hares in towns and villages across Norfolk.
Hilary Richards, Break CEO, said: “We passionately believe every child and young person needs a home where they feel safe and loved, so they can grow in confidence and look to the future with hope and that’s what we strive for every day. Over the past 50 years our charity has gone from strength to strength ensuring that we can support more of the children and young people across the region who need us. We have grown from a small family charity in the early days to one that offers a wide range of support to vulnerable children, young people and families. With the help of all our amazing fundraisers, corporate partners, volunteers and our team, we will continue to develop what we do to ensure that we are changing young lives for the next 50 years.”
To celebrate Break’s 50th anniversary and support the work of the charity, people can stage an individual My Break 50 fundraising challenge based on a 50 theme, take part in organised fundraising events like the Stody Cross Country or the Grand Norwich Duck Race or by undertaking an individual challenge of their choice or by supporting Break’s new virtual challenge.
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