This year we have introduced Route29 to help young people aged 12-17 in care and on the edge of care. Too many Salford young people in care are placed in children's homes outside the city, meaning they have to change schools, move away from their friends and family and don’t always get the support they need. Route29 aims to change that.

Route29 (known as ‘No Wrong Door’ in North Yorkshire and other areas) is an integrated service for adolescents with complex needs that brings together a team of specialists working together through a shared practice framework. The model operates as an edge of care/outreach service, focused around a re-purposed children’s home that acts as a hub to bring together a multi-disciplinary team, including a clinical and educational psychologists, police, a speech and language therapist, a specialist nurse and ‘stickable’ key workers. The team are currently looking for Route29 foster carers to join them.

Instead of going to a children’s home, young people who live in Salford can now get instant access to the professional support they need at the Route29 hub. Where necessary, they can stay overnight on a short term basis, but usually they would stay at home and get help from the hub during the day, for as long as they need it.

Young people were involved in designing this new service from the very start. They chose to have the service branded under the name Route29, and the interior of the hub has been designed to their specification with furniture they chose.

They helped to set the job roles and asked questions on the interview panels to recruit new workers.

One of the young people who shaped the new service and wanted to stay anonymous said:  “We have gone through the system and wanted to use our experience to make it better for young people. Rather than let somebody else choose for us, we have made the decisions. It’s completely different, we had to get it right and we were listened to.

“As a child in care you don’t always feel safe. You need the right staff, with the right skills, attitude and support from other professionals to work with each child and get the best experience for them.

“Everybody had an opinion on the name, so in the end we did an online poll where young people got to vote from about ten options. We wanted to use the word ‘route’, because as a young person in care are you are on a journey from A to B. We added 29 as it is the number of the building which we designed. So it’s now Route29. It makes me proud to say it.”

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “This new way of working follows a system that was developed in North Yorkshire and has been very successful. 

“We handed proposals over to young people who have been in care and they have shaped it using their own experiences. They were brutally honest, they told us the type of staff they wanted employed – and they were very vocal after the interviews about who would fit in with the service and who wouldn’t.

“The young people have done a fantastic job and we’d like to thank them for all their hard work and invaluable knowledge. I am also delighted that two of our care leavers applied for jobs at Route29 and start in post very soon.”

Councillor John Merry, Lead Member for Children’s and Young People’s Services added “We’d like to give a special thank you to our contractors Sheila Bird and Quay Interiors. They have done an amazing job renovating the building to the young people’s specification. This has saved vital taxpayers’ money and we can’t thank them enough. They truly have the Spirit of Salford.”

Around 580 children and young people are in care in Salford.

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