To receive verbal updates from Carlisle Member Champions as follows:-
(a) Children in Care
(c) Armed Forces
(a) Children in Care
Members received an update from Elizabeth Mallinson, the Local Committee’s Children in Care Champion.
The Committee was informed of the various activities which had been undertaken by the Carlisle and Eden young people from the Children in Care Council (CiCC) which included a successful visit to Hawse End Centre during the summer, the Annual Care Awards for Cumbria and recruitment of a new Care Leaver Ambassador for Carlisle and Eden.
Members received an update from the Corporate Parenting Board which had considered housing for vulnerable young people and care leavers, Independent Reviewing Office (IRO) Annual Report for 2020\21, the Annual Report for Children Looked After April 2020-March 2021 by North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and the Foster Carer Survey.
Members received an update from Christine Bowditch, the Local Committee’s Autism Champion.
The Local Committee was informed that the Autism Strategy 2021?22 had been published explaining that its introduced in 2009 had focussed on diagnosis, awareness and employment for adults but welcomed the inclusion of children in the current Strategy. It was explained this would be in place until 2022 when there would be a Spending Review whereupon councils would be able to make longer term plans.
Members were informed of the six priorities within the Strategy which had funding amounting to £74.88 million, namely:-
1. Improving understanding and acceptance of autism within society
2. Improving autism children and young people’s access to education and supporting positive transmission into adulthood
3. Supporting more autistic people into employment
4. Tackling health and care inequalities for autistic people
5. Building the right support in the community
6. Improving support within the criminal and youth justice system.
Members were informed that the initial £75 million would be used as a contribution towards developing a public understanding campaign, reducing diagnosis waiting times and increasing crisis support in the community, amongst other things.
The Committee’s attention was drawn to the support required for autistic people from the social care sector to enable them to carry out everyday tasks. It was explained the Strategy was not specific about what services should be provided and the importance of communicating with autistic people in the Carlisle district to ascertain what they needed in order that those services were invested in was highlighted.
Members were given an update on a recent Cumbria Learning and Autism Partnership Board where a successful new initiative had been discussed regarding a campaign group called ‘gig buddies‘. It was explained this involved the recruitment of volunteers who were willing to stay with adults with autism and severe learning differences after an official carer left social events.
The importance of the work of the Champion for Autism was acknowledged following the thanks which Mrs Bowditch had received from an individual for her invaluable help and advice.
(c) Armed Forces
Members received an update from Val Tarbitt, the Local Committee’s Armed Forces Champion.
The Committee was informed that a number of activities, including the Breakfast Club, were still to resume following the pandemic.
Members were informed that the Census 2021 had requested specific information regarding veterans and the Member Champion was awaiting confirmation from the Office for National Statistics as to how the data would be used.
The Chair, on behalf of the Committee, thanked all member champions for their update.