A group of children’s services experts based in Suffolk, has launched an innovative solution to support professionals working with children who are looked after.
‘Walk a Mile’, offers digital life stories for young people – providing a solution to one of the challenges faced by social workers with increasing workloads and reducing resources.
Walk a Mile provides high quality, video life stories about looked after children for the social care industry. The team digitally captures key events, memories and history from a child’s life, featuring interviews and commentary from influential people from their past and present.
Life stories have been proven to have a significant positive effect on looked after children, helping them make sense of their experiences and their past. They are a key part of the work that social workers complete, but many do not have the time to complete this vital work. Walk a Mile provides this service quickly and effectively, adding to the resources available to social care professionals.
Each life story is filmed by a professional videographer and is directed and managed by an experienced social worker in conjunction with experienced social care professionals, who have the skills to sensitively deal with the child and their friends and family.
The team is made up of trained professionals with a raft of experience in a range of social care roles. Director Jeremy Jayasuriya is also the Director of Children’s Home group, A & T Home Limited, and has been instrumental in developing the therapeutic model of care that is delivered within the Homes. He has years of working in residential care with young adults experiencing learning and physical disabilities, and later as a child protection social worker.
Jeremy says, “Having worked within the social work industry for a number of years, we know the positive impact that life stories can have on children who are looked after, but we also know that often these can be overlooked when social workers are facing such demanding workloads.
“Traditionally, life stories take the form of written books, so we have developed a more modern, visually appealing digital format, that the children will be able to access for the rest of their lives.
“Recently, a young person who received one of our digital life stories watched it more than 10 times the day he received it and showed it to all of his friends.
This kind of feedback is so important. We can provide these children with something made specially for them and about them – helping their social care team to support them in gaining a secure sense of their identity.”