The interim Service Manager for Thorndale Family Centre is Dawn Richardson, who has been in this post since October 2013. Adapting to change has been significant for Thorndale in this past year, and the management changes and reduction in funding from family and childcare services has enabled the team to develop creative and innovative ways to continue to deliver a quality service.
There are 38 self-contained Family Units (max capacity 125 persons) across two programmes of care: Supported Housing/ ill Resettlement for Homeless Families with additional support needs and the Residential Parenting Assessment Programme. In addition to these programmes, there is a registered pre-school playgroup on site, providing an integrated early years facility for children aged three to five years within the service and from the local community.
Thorndale provides holistic, evidenced-based parenting assessments, which can prevent the need for further costly interventions and delays in the process of permanency planning for children. Thorndale ensures that the best interests of children are paramount in all that they do. Their emphasis is on identifying difficulties and seeking solutions through skilled intervention.
A resident's view:
"Since being here I have made some great lifelong friends. If anyone was to say to me they were coming to Thorndale I would tell them to come with a positive attitude and to get involved with all the activities because me and my kids have had such a good, fun learning experience.”
A key strength of Thorndale is the relationships and professional partnerships members of the staff team have with other agencies, educational institutions, and social services, amongst others. The opportunity this creates to ensure a seamless effective service is offered to families is paramount.
Once resettled after Thorndale, there is a clear gap in community service provision and this is leaving some families feeling isolated and vulnerable. Without additional funding, Thorndale have developed a basic yet effective strand of aftercare and tenancy support, where a 24/7 ‘helpline' is offered to these families. A daily phone call and 'well-being check’ is offered, along with a weekly ‘drop-in' facility back at Thorndale. The service s new group ‘Buds' is in development, which will offer peer support whilst living at Thorndale, but also continued links and a befriending network once the families move out. This is all being for service users, yet with and by service users.