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Weekly Welfare - 15.1.2021

Welcome to our second Weekly Welfare email of 2021!

Dear GPUTC community,  

Welcome to your weekly welfare email. This is an email that I will be sending to all GPUTC students, parents and staff every Friday whilst students are learning at home. Each email will include a selection of positive news stories, mental and physical wellbeing tips, links to interesting resources for parents and students and links to support services. I hope this is helpful to our community in these challenging times.  

This week, I want to consider how we manage our own expectations of ourself. As we adapt to working and learning from home again, it's really important to remember that the standards that we have for ourselves in normal times don’t always apply to our current experience. Perhaps instead of trying to hold ourselves to a set of impossible standards, we should decide on a new set of standards for this episode of our lives. In the words of author, Matt Haig: “Today will be incomplete. Today will not be perfect. Today you will not find the meaning of life. Today you will not empty your in-box or tick off your to-do-list. Today will not be the ideal day. It will just be a day. And you will just be a person. And that's okay.”  

Our welfare and pastoral teams continue to work hard to support students whilst they are learning at home. If you need to be in contact, your first port of call is your child’s mentor. You can also contact safeguarding@gputc.com for urgent matters.   

Positive news story: During the first lockdown, charity Positive View challenged young people aged 16 - 25 to create photographs which documented, recorded, and exposed the issues they had to contend with during the first Coronavirus lockdown. This was the UK's first high-profile photography prize exclusively focused on young people, many of whom have grown up in disadvantaged backgrounds. For the majority, participating in this unique competition has been the first time that they have discovered the power of photography as a means of expressing their hidden creative skills. Explore the ‘Lockdown: taking a positive view’ exhibition in the Gallery here: https://www.positiveview.org.uk/lockdown-exhibition

Helpful resource for parents: Many families have seen a change in circumstances in the last year. If your family income has been reduced recently, I would encourage you to check whether your child qualifies for Free School Meals. The criteria can be found here: https://fis.peterborough.gov.uk/kb5/peterborough/directory/service.page?id=HDtwUlc8p5A. To apply, email bursary@gputc.com and we will process your application as quickly as we can. If you need urgent help to access a Food Bank, please let us know via the same email address.   

A team of nutritionists at M&S have produced a guide for parents detailing how you can plan breakfasts and lunches for two kids for £20 a week, details here: https://twitter.com/marksandspencer/status/1350047483666325504?s=20  

Families can also receive support from the community hubs set up by our local councils: 

Helpful resource for students:  

Using mobile data to access your learning? If you are using mobile data to access your learning, you don’t have an unlimited plan and you are running out of data, please email me (l.donaldson@gputc.com) and I will send you a Vodaphone Data-only SIM.  If you are having any other issues with accessing your learning, please be in contact and we will do our best to help.  

Setting up a Productive Learning Space: Whilst it is written for parents, I know that many of our learners will find this guide helpful.  Khan Academy’s Tips for Setting up a Productive Learning Space at Home is part of a series of helpful articles and can be found here: https://www.khanacademy.org/khan-for-educators/resources/parents-mentors-1/khan-academy-accounts/a/seven-tips-for-setting-up-a-productive-learning-space-at-home.  

 

Message from Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Local Authorities: 2020 was a difficult year for us all, but even more so for the children and young people who go in to 2021 without a stable home and loving family. This New Year we are looking for people who are determined, energetic and caring, to become foster carers. 

Fostering with Cambridgeshire County or Peterborough City Councils means you are fostering with a local authority that truly cares about you and the children in our care. We offer comprehensive training courses both before and during your fostering adventure with us. We also allocate a social worker who will support you and we also provide a 24/7 helpline so you will never feel alone! 

Remember if you are a Cambridgeshire County Council or Peterborough City Council employee and undergoing an assessment as a foster carer for either council, (with agreement from your line manager), you are entitled to additional annual leave of up to 5 days to attend training courses. 

So, whether you are single, married, retired, working or a full-time parent to a birth child YOU CAN FOSTER! Make this a happier New Year for our children and young people. To find out more, call 0800 052 0078, text FOSTERING to 60777, email fostering@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/fostering

Links to support services:  

Working online:  

We are all spending more time online at the moment, so it’s really important that we understand how to keep ourselves and others safe online. The following organisations have loads of information about how to do that:  

For students: Thinkuknow   

For parents: Internet matters  

For staff and parents: London Grid for Learning  

  

Mental health support:  

For students: Young Minds Crisis Messenger - If you are a young person experiencing a mental health crisis you can text YM to 85258 for free 24/7 support  

For parents: Parents Helpline - If you are a parent who needs advice about your child’s mental health you can contact the Parents Helpline directly on 0808 802 5544 between 9:30am-4pm  

For staff: If you are a member of staff or parent who works in a school, college or university, you can call the Education Support Partnership for free support on 08000 562 561.  

If you need assistant to contact other support services, please email safeguarding@gputc.com and we will be in contact.   

I hope everyone has a lovely, restful weekend. I’ll be back next week with more positive stories and resources. If you have anything that you think other students, parents or colleagues would find useful please email me the details (l.donaldson@gputc.com).  

Kind regards,  

Lynne Donaldson  
Director of Support