Next Step leaving care

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Next Step is the leaving care service for Salford.

We provide support to young people in care from the age of 16 and to care leavers usually until their 21st birthday. However, depending on the circumstances and your own wishes, the service may be extended for just a limited period of time (eg to provide support with a particular issue) or potentially up to your 25th birthday. Please note you can also return to Next Step for advice and signposting anytime in the future whatever your age.

All young people known to Next Step are assigned a pathway advisor (at the age of 16) and sometimes you may be allocated an aftercare worker instead (but only once you reach 18).

Next Step also offers a duty service between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday to deal with emergencies when your assigned worker is unavailable.

What kind of things can Next Step support you with?

  • Securing safe and suitable accommodation
  • Finding appropriate education, employment and training opportunities
  • Access to primary health services (such as doctor and dentist) and also to more specialist health professionals where this is required
  • Arranging financial support and help with budgeting (managing your money and how to pay bills) *
  • Developing other independent living skills (such as cooking and cleaning)
  • Participation in leisure activities and pursuing your interests and hobbies
  • Developing confidence and self–esteem
  • Managing relationships, including with your birth family where this is appropriate

Contact us

Next Step
Salford Opportunities Centre
2 Paddington Close
Salford, M6 5PL

  • Call: 0161 607 1888
  • Email:
  • Service manager: Phil Varghese
  • Practice managers: Natalie Hughes and Emma Parkinson
  • Salford’s emergency out of hour’s service number: 0161 603 4500

If you are under 18 years of age, you will not be entitled to claim most state benefits. Instead Next Step has the responsibility of supporting you financially. How much you receive will depend on your circumstances.

Young people leaving care will qualify for an allowance of up to £3,000 to help with setting up home.

Next Step also may provide an additional financial support package for care leavers going into higher education.

Below you will find some frequency asked questions about our service.

When do I start working with the Next Step service?

You will normally be allocated your Pathway worker soon after you reach sixteen years of age. Your present social worker will usually arrange to introduce you to your Pathway worker before handing over responsibility for you to them.

You will receive a service from the project until your 21st birthday, but this can be extended up to your 25th birthday under certain circumstances (particularly if there is an unmet need). In some cases, you will change from a pathway worker to an aftercare worker sometime after your 18th birthday.

In addition Salford’s Leaving Care Team acknowledges that once you leave care, anyone, at any age, might need extra support at some point in life. We want to be there for you, should you ever need our help and advice, no matter how long ago you left care. So, if you are ever stuck, need some advice, or you just want to have a chat with someone from the team, please get in touch.

What is a Pathway Plan?

Your Pathway Plan is completed with you and your Pathway worker. It sets out detailed plans on how to get you from where you are now to where you want to be in five years’ time. In most cases it will take several sessions to complete. It is reviewed every six months to check on progress and to see if any changes or additions need to be made.

How long will I be involved with Next Step?

You will receive a service from the project until your 21st birthday, but this can be extended up to your 25th birthday under certain circumstances (particularly if there is an unmet need). In some cases, you will change from a pathway worker to an aftercare worker sometime after your 18th birthday.

How often will I see my worker?

There are regulations which stipulate the frequency of contact and may change according to your needs and age. All young people are seen once every six weeks or once every two months, but in some special circumstances it can be several times a week (this will depend upon a number of factors including your age, where you live and who with).

What sort of things will I do with my worker?

A lot of the time your worker will be helping you to plan for your future, looking at things like education, training, employment and accommodation. Sometimes there is space to do something more informal, or maybe just meeting for a chat and a brew. Your worker may also help you to make links with other services like Connexions, The Prince's Trust and Fairbridge.

Can I get help with drug or alcohol problems?

There is a specialist worker within the Next Step service who can offer help and support with reducing your use of drugs and/or alcohol and look at ways of keeping safe if you do use them.

When will I leave my care placement?

This depends on individual needs and your situation, but it usually happens between your 17th and 18th birthday.

For those who reside in foster care placements discussions with yourself, carers and significant others will take place at the earliest opportunity about staying there post 18, this is known as ‘Staying Put’.

The ‘Staying Put’ arrangement is aimed at young people who have established strong attachment to their foster carers, offering them the opportunity to remaining with their carers post 18 until they reach the age of 21.

Where will I be living when I leave care?

There are all sorts of options like supported lodgings, supported housing projects, bedsits or your own flat. You can choose to move into supported accommodation first and then move on to your flat at a later date.

What if I want to live away from the Salford area?

If you have connections with another area and you want to move there, we will help you all we can, but it may be more difficult to find you accommodation. If you move somewhere close to Salford we will continue to work with you, but if you move further away then we may ask the local leaving care team to work with you on our behalf and to inform you about available services. Wherever you live Salford will still have responsibilities for you.

What do I do if I have a problem and my worker is not around?

There are duty workers who are available to deal with urgent problems. If you do need to see someone and your worker is not around you can either call into the office or phone. The duty worker is available between 8.30am and 4.30pm from Monday to Friday to deal with emergencies if the young person’s worker is not available.

This page was last updated on 9 May 2024

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