Dear Amanda,

I would like to share my experiences of working in the last six months with Future Horizons in Tamworth. I have been extremely impressed by the whole service and the levels of support and opportunities it offers its young residents. It offers the perfect balance between enabling the young residents to live independently in an environment that offers safety and security. The level of support is exactly what young people require to enable them to develop the social-emotional skills that are vital to successful independent living in the community. The physical environment is also of the highest quality, and care is taken to ensure it provides safety and security at all times.

Including a clinical psychologist to the support team, indicates to me the commitment of Future Horizons to provide a psychologically informed service. The psychological framework is predominantly based on psychodynamic, systemic and neurobiological approaches. Regular clinical staff consultation offers therapeutic expertise, which offers transformative insight into the young residences’ life experiences.

The therapeutic relationships developed between the support staff and young residents provides a reparation emotional ‘container’ that can keep the young residents safe while living independently, and provide them with a ‘secure base’ to safely explore the wider community around them. Due to the relational aspect and underpinning of the support offered, young residents continue to receive the high levels of nurturing that they still require.

Trusting secure relationships and the wider group experience, powerfully counters the dangerous sense that many young people who have been through the looked after system have formed that they do not matter to anyone, and nobody matters to them.

The young residents’ participation in thinking about all aspects of living together, including the environment, is a significant part of the group experience. Frequent and regular staff and young resident house meetings provide the perfect opportunity to meet all together to identify, clarify, discuss and resolve issues needing attention in a supportive and contained environment. It is vital that the young residents learn to develop the practical, emotional and social skills associated with successful independent living, within a wider community.

Relationships are at the very heart of the Future Horizons experience. Not only is the value of the relationships between support staff and individual young residents valued, but equally the relationships between the young residents. The high quality of the support staff provides extremely positive role models for the young residents.

I have experienced first-hand how Future Horizons has helped its young residents develop and grow, enabling them to develop the practical, social and emotional skills that are vital to successful independence, within a safe and secure environment that does not restrict and supress its residents.

It is my opinion, that Future Horizons offers young people who are failing within traditional residential and foster care settings a wonderful opportunity to develop the vital skills of independence, allowing them to thrive and take full advantage of the opportunities available to them throughout their lives.

In summary, Future Horizons offers its young residents the perfect ‘living and learning’ psychologically informed experience, that is inextricably intertwined by relationships. I welcome and value the opportunity to continue to work with Future Horizons and help in its growth and development. It would be great if more young people could benefit from the support and experiences offered by Future Horizons. I believe that all of the elements offered by Future Horizons offer young people of a semi-independence age a unique opportunity.

Warm regards,