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Weekly Welfare - 22/01/2021

Welcome to your Weekly Welfare article!

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 important it is to connect with others. During lockdown, our social circles shrink because we focus our time and energy on dealing with our own situation and social connections are much harder to maintain. They are really important for our wellbeing though, so even though it sometimes feels like a real effort, it's important to keep them going. Perhaps it's time to restart the weekly Zoom quiz nights with family or message someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. As a school community, we’re trying to stay connected through our mentor groups, our Session 3 groups, our year group assemblies and our weareutc@gputc.com email address (which is a chance for you to tell us what you’ve been up to and what projects you’re working on whilst you’re learning at home). It’s the little things that connect us: something as simple as sharing a picture of you walking your dog can make someone else feel connected with you, and their response to your picture makes you feel connected to them. I would encourage everyone to reach out this week – keep those connections going!  

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: A sporting story for you this week. I’m sure it’s a relief to many of us there are some professional sports fixtures continuing – they are an excellent distraction, and fill up a few hours! After a humiliating and record-breaking (for all the wrong reasons) defeat at the hands of Australia, and beset by injuries, the Indian Cricket team found the internal drive and determination to defeat Australia in their following test match, seeing off Australia’s 16-match winning streak. So, a good news story for India, if not Australia! 

Legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar thanked those who had faith in the Indian team, despite their recent poor performance: “For all of us in India and across the world, if you ever score 36 or less in life, remember: it isn't end of the world. The spring stretches backward only to propel you forward. And once you succeed, don't forget to celebrate with those who stood by you when the world wrote you off.”  

 

Helpful resource for parents:  

The NSPCC have produced a range of guidance to support parents during lockdown, covering everything from dealing with arguments to how to manage feelings around returning to school: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/coronavirus-advice-suppport-children-families-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.   

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

 

Helpful resource for students:  

Get valuable, anonymous, support: Kooth offers emotional and mental health support for anyone aged 11 to 24. Their website is free and anonymous to sign up to and has articles to read, a daily journal function and loads of mini-activities to help you reflect on your mood, emotions and mental health. There is also an anonymous chat function which is available up to 10pm every day. Find out more here: https://www.kooth.com 

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.  

 

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