Fatima Whitbread launches Manx Care initiative targeting young people in care on the Isle of Man

  • Fatima Whitbread visits the Isle of Man to talk about her experience of living in care

Double Olympic medalist, Fatima Whitbread MBE, hopes a new initiative will offer 'aspirational experiences' to people living in care on the Isle of Man.

The former world champion visited the Isle of Man to help launch the 'Edge of Care' scheme, in collaboration with Manx Care.

Fatima said: “I grew up in care, and am using this lived experience to help build positive mental health for our children. I recognise the importance of supporting and nurturing young people’s talent, passion and skills, and am promoting collaboration across organisations to ensure families can remain together, with support to enable this to happen safely.”

She has been visiting the island to spread awareness of her own ‘Fatima’s UK Campaign’, sharing her own story of living in care from a young age.

Manx Care held a conference at the Villa Marina to announce the new care initiative. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

There are 86 children and young people living in care on the island, and Manx Care hope the new initiative will reduce the number of people being forced into the care system.

Manx Care describes the initiative as a 'multi-agency approach', which supports children and young people to return home where appropriate and safe to do so, with the right support in place.

The full launch of this initiative, which has been running in trial form for 12 months, will mean that intensive support is available for families in crisis.

A variety of teams will work together to provide therapeutic intervention for both children and parents, rather than receiving social work intervention only.

Fatima Whitbread MBE and Julie Gibney, Assistant Director, Children's and Families, Manx Care. Credit: Manx Care

Julie Gibney, Assistant Director for Children and Families Social Work, said: “This week’s conferenceis the first step in a positive development for families across the Island, and we look forward to moving forward and developing this initiative, ensuring that individuals and families are getting the right support at the right time.”

Samantha Holmes, from Manx Care’s Professional Contextual Safeguarding team, said: “Our teambelieves that this collaborative work with young people and their families is vital.

"This opportunity allows practitioners to identify and review a child/adolescent’s health needs; early identification can highlight the protective factors that positively influence a child's wellbeing, as well as any risk factors.

"The professional team will work with families to ensure that any risk factors highlighted are minimised.”

Fatima gave the keynote speech at the conference. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Superintendent Maddocks (Isle of Man Constabulary) added: “Helping children, young people and their families is vitally important for them to thrive and try to be the best they can be. 

"Working together and in partnership to help and assist is the only way this can be done to ensure the young person gets the right help and support, early, and at the right time.

"The Isle of Man Constabulary is committed to this in order to Keep People Safe”.

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