Archive for July, 2015

Yesterday, Greece voted no to a series of requirements from the European central bank, to allow them to be ‘bailed out’ of their financial difficulties. This is a massive world event but how do financial difficulties effect those we work with.

Young people with a learning disability are vulnerable financially as they tend to lack the interpersonal skills necessary to identify when someone is not being honest with them. We work with them to ensure that they begin to learn through underpinning and education that money management is a key part of being an adult.

Young people in care living away from family also have to learn within a protective environment how to manage their money. As an organisation we have always held the philosophy of ‘to every child a childhood’ and have therefore tried to ensure that our young people enjoy activities and holidays that will leave lasting memories. But what happens when they leave our care, this is where the real difficulty begins, restricted budget and little support to fall back on.

One theme that continues to haunt me is the concept of ‘mate hate’, for those of you who have not come across this before it is the concept of ‘friends’ who attach themselves to our young people, students, young adults, usually when they are living independently, pretending to be their friend.

When our young people move into their own accommodation, even age appropriate friends will not usually have ‘their own place’. Our kids become a magnet for people to doss around and cause a nuisance because there is no repercussions for them. Our kids tend to struggle to manage these ‘friends’ and often end up losing their accommodation as a result.

More worryingly and getting back to the financial costs, these ‘friends’ will often turn up on the day that the young person gets their weekly allowance, ‘helping’ them to spend it and then leaving them for the rest of the week with no money.

‘Mate Hate’ is real and is something we need to educate our young people about as early as we can, so that they can build some resilience and spot the signs early.

It’s what any good parent, or friend would do.

How can we do it better?

Keith Burley

Founder & CEO

Safety Net - Friend or Fake


3rd place in the  Devon Cycle Challenge well done everyone who helped put Phoenix on the map!

With the start of Wimbledon this week it is great to see the kids from PCC taking part in a tennis coaching session organised by Debbie and Christine from Osbourne who went and sourced a community tennis coaching course for themselves and organised the event at a local tennis club.

Sport is an important part of every service in Phoenix, we are so proud of Lollie for being named the Devon young sports person of the year last year and Oakwood continues to produce Special Olympians, and of course let’s not forget the table cricket!

Getting our children, young people and young adults active as much as possible really improves their lives on so many levels, so if you have any ideas push them through.

I was reading an article this week on supporting dignity in care and it had three key messages:

Connect with me!

  1. Show me respect and courtesy
  2. Act with kindness and thought
  3. Offer to help without having to be asked

See who I am!

  1. Treat me as an individual with my own history, preferences, fears and beliefs.
  2. Be aware of my needs
  3. View me as an intelligent person with a massive part to play in my care

Involve me!

  1. Help me make decisions
  2. Be honest and respectful of my choices
  3. Help me at my level

Although this is an aged persons project I think the core concepts are important in everything we do at Phoenix.

Keith Burley

Founder & CEO