Emily exclaimed, “The best news is that we are going to be interviewed about our project, that without the support of Children in Need funding we would not be able to do!”
In April 2017, The Hamlet was successful in securing 3 years funding for the post of a ‘Specialist Play Leader’ at Johnson Place, Children’s Service. Since having this job role in place, the impact on the opportunities and services we provide for children at The Hamlet, has been considerable.
Emily explained, “The role of Specialist Play Leader is central to our work and most importantly gives children and young people voice, control and independence.”
The work of Specialist Play Leader has had such an impact on how The Hamlet is able to support the children, young people and families. Support plans have become much more user friendly, working more closely with child and family members to ensure they are always up to date and reflective of the child’s needs and interests. The role has also allowed The Hamlet to cater for a wider range of children and they have worked hard to make sure everyone is included and has their communication needs met. Behaviour support plans have become more affective and promote the child’s voice in a much clearer way for all to understand. Play activities are carefully crafted and modelled by the leader to support other staff members in their practice.
Chelsea Dyke is the current Specialist Play Leader and said: “I love my job so much. It is so rewarding to see the difference my role has been able to make and I feel we are able to provide the very best opportunities for the children that attend.” A large part of Chelsea’s work is providing support with challenging behaviour. Chelsea explains that she has been able to work closely with child, family and professional settings such as school and ‘Starfish +’ to support communication needs and challenging behaviour. Emily said “One recent success was where Chelsea was able to visit the school of a child whose behaviour really challenged us. Quite often we would encounter and document around 10 incidents a day. Chelsea was able to implement some of the ideas from the school into our own support plan and quickly found that incidents reduced to zero. It was a brilliant example of where multi-agency working can be successful and proves how much of an impact the Specialist Play Lead role has not only had in our organisation but in other settings too.”
The Hamlet will also be visited by local radio station BBC Norfolk. Out and about reporter Wally Web will interview Emily and Pauline which will be aired on the BBC Norfolk breakfast show on Friday 16th. Tune in to listen to their interview and make sure you look out for them on BBC 1 on Friday night! The Hamlet makes live national TV everyone! How exciting!!