Rockinghorse funded service shortlisted for national award!

Our Youth Service based at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital has recently been shortlisted in...

Our Youth Service based at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital has recently been shortlisted in the national Children and Young People Awards

These awards, now in their eighteenth year, are the gold standard for anyone working with children, young people and families and showcase organisations like Rockinghorse that work, day in, day out, to improve the lives of children and young people in their communities.

The shortlisted entry is in the Safeguarding Award category and outlined the specialist Youth Worker service that we fund for children and young people in the Accident & Emergency Department (A&E) at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

This service, funded by Rockinghorse and the Sussex Violence Reduction Partnership, and run by The Trust for Developing Communities, offers support, advice and signposting to young people coming into the A&E with injuries, overdoses and mental health issues related to situations going on outside the hospital.

These skilled interventions quickly build relationships with at-risk young people. The youth worker can then help to create joint safety plans with the young people so that they are able to be active participant in their own support.

The service then enables these young people and their families to reflect on the reasons why they ended up in the hospital and gives them help to find ways through and out of their situations using signposting to other local services near to where they live.

The need for the service came about following the dramatic rise in young people coming to the hospital in crisis. The staff were seeing incidents of self-harm, violence and eating disorders on an alarming scale and despite their absolute best efforts, they simply didn’t have the capacity to treat the underlying issues that have resulted in their visit to the hospital.

Dr Mohammed Rahman, Paediatric Consultant and Lead for the HDU at The Alex, is at the sharp end of this crisis, seeing hundreds of young patients a day coming through the ED at the hospital.

Dr Rahman said, “As a team we do the best we can during the time these young people are in hospital, but we simply don’t have the time to explore some of the underlying issues resulting in their visit to A&E or follow up cases in a way that might prevent them from needing to be re-admitted.”

The staff explained that having a resource based right where it’s needed in the A&E department would mean that vulnerable young people could be more easily identified and helped at the point where this additional support is most likely to be successful.

So, we partnered with The Trust for Developing Communities (TDC), a Brighton based charity experienced in delivering youth work in the city, to fund a Youth Worker based in the hospital, taking a preventative approach with children and young people frequently in the care of the hospital with deteriorating mental health.

Following the introduction of this service, Dr Rahman has noticed a real difference in the department: “With the introduction of a Youth Worker we can now point these vulnerable teenagers, who present to our Emergency Department, to someone who might be able to help steer them in the right direction.

“Where once we felt helpless as staff within the Department, we now feel hopeful that we can actually make a difference.”

The service means that children and young people struggling as a result of mental health issues, substance abuse issues or because of violence and exploitation, can get the help they need at an early stage and before it’s too late.

We are delighted that this amazing service has received a nomination and we’re really looking forward to the award ceremony at the Hurlingham Club in London on 23 November.

Wish us luck!

To find out more about this service, click here.