St Helens children's home receives another 'outstanding' Ofsted report

Abbeyford Children’s Home in St Helens has come in for high praise after receiving yet another outstanding Ofsted report.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 12:53 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd October 2021, 12:54 pm
From left to right, Coun Nova Charlton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People; Paul Spencer, Abbeyford Registered Manager; Coun David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council and Mike Blood, Abbeyford Deputy Manager

The St Helens Borough Council-run respite centre on Rainford Road – which provides short breaks for children and young people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities – received a visit from inspectors in September and has been judged to be outstanding across the board.

The latest inspection makes it a fourth highest possible rating in a row for Abbeyford which has continued to provide an exceptional level of care throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Key findings found highly effective safeguarding practice in place and that young people make significant progress during their stay, trying out new activities which has led to them learning new skills - including making scarecrows for the St Helens Scarecrow Festival and growing vegetables at a local allotment to help support a healthy lifestyle.

Elsewhere in the glowing report, it was noted that the home provides a warm and nurturing environment where children can thrive, maintained to an excellent standard with good-quality furniture making it a homely and relaxing environment – while children can also access a range of specialist equipment that meet their needs.

In addition, the inspector was full of praise for the senior leadership team which inspires a strong and nurturing child-centred culture, supporting staff who have often gone above and beyond by often completing tasks outside their remit to support children and their families during a global pandemic.

Writing in her report, social care inspector, Judith Birchall, commented on the many positive experiences children encounter which make their stay at Abbeyford an enjoyable one, mentioning how the use of a digital app allows parents and guardians to see photos, videos and short write-ups of their children enjoying activities, with one parent saying it provides reassurance that their child is happy, settled and having fun.

Speaking of his pride, Registered Manager Paul Spencer, said: “We’ve established such a motivated and inspirational team of staff here who, together with the continued support of parents and guardians of the children and young people who attend Abbeyford, are without doubt the key to this success.

"Our attitude is to never get complacent, and we will now look to aspire to maintain our outstanding status and continue to offer a quality service in the future to people in our communities who depend on us.”

Passing on her congratulations on a recent visit, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Nova Charlton, said: “The report is testimony to the dedicated team of staff who go above and beyond to ensure the children and young people in their care receive positive and rewarding experiences during their time there.

“As a council, our first priority is to ensure all children and young people have a positive start in life and fantastic facilities like Abbeyford are a shining example of what can be achieved.”

Council Leader David Baines added: “I’m delighted for the staff of Abbeyford who work tirelessly to maintain such high standards, and for the children and families who benefit from their outstanding service.

“Thank you so much to Paul and all his staff for inviting me along to help celebrate their achievement, and on their continued success.”