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Firvale Residential Overnight Short Breaks Unit

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Where to go

Firvale Residential Overnight Short Breaks Unit
Park Prewett Road
RG24 9NB

Other Details


Age Ranges
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Local Offer

Local Offer
What does your service do?

Firvale is a place where children and young people with disabilities can stay overnight so their families can have a break from caring. Firvale provides support to children and young people who have severe learning disabilities with additional complex health needs or social care needs, and their families. We aim to offer an enjoyable and stimulating time for children and an opportunity to meet and play with their friends and peers away from school. Many of the young people we work with will have had a limited, or no, experience of spending a night away from home prior to coming to Firvale. We offer a range of activities while children are staying with us. Current activities include art & craft, music, games, trampolines, swing ball, and growing vegetables and flowers. We also go out to theme parks and activity centres as well as local parks, cinema and bowling. Firvale is jointly funded by health and this means that one part of our building is staffed by qualified nursing staff. We do support children with a wide range of needs, and a small number of children need to use this part of our service to ensure any complex health needs are met. Families using Firvale continue using it as long as they would like to, and as long as it remains part of the agreed care plan for that child (please see question number 5).

Who does your service provide for?

We provide a service for children and young people who have a severe learning disability with additional complex health or social care needs. We are registered to provide services for those between the ages of 0-18 although the majority of children who stay with us are in the 6-14 age range. We can offer a service for young people who need support in all areas of personal and health care, and those whose behaviour might be more challenging. Each child’s needs are considered on an individual basis as part of the process of deciding with family whether Firvale is the right service for your family.

How can I start using the service?

OurYou need to have agreement from Children’s Services social care, via your social worker or health professional– please see question 5. Once overnight short breaks are agreed, you will be able to come in to Firvale and talk through any questions and agree with us how we can best introduce your child to Firvale. We would usually begin this process when there is space for stays to begin regularly for your child. The service is funded jointly by social care and health. At the moment, families are not buying stays directly but in future families are likely to be buying stays using their personal budgets. You would need to arrange some pocket money for your child to help towards trips, outings and activities.

Where is it located and what areas does it cover?

Firvale is based in Basingstoke and serves families over a very wide area, we are able to accept referrals from the whole of Hampshire. There may be a similar service much nearer to where you live; so if it is agreed that your child will receive overnight breaks, your social worker would discuss the options with you.

How are decisions made about who can use your service?

Any child or young person with a disability using the service would have first had an assessment of their needs completed by a social worker. If this assessment states that there is a need for overnight short breaks, the social worker will discuss with the family how this could be achieved. Social workers and health professionals make recommendation to their managers who discuss all requests at a county-wide monthly panel and your social worker or health professional will let you know the outcome. Overnight short breaks is a service that is focused on those families who most need this kind of break: -children who regularly don’t sleep through the night and need supervision to stay safe -children with complex health needs that regularly need attention during the night -children whose support needs are so intensive that parents/carers need a longer break. Your social worker or health professional will keep in contact with you throughout the process of decision-making. Once agreed, Firvale would become part of your child’s agreed care plan with the pattern of overnight stays agreed between us.

How do you communicate with service users and how are they involved in decision making?

Communication with parents/ carers: Each child is allocated a ‘key worker’ who is a member of the Firvale staff team. It is the keyworker’s responsibility to liaise with the family during the initial introductions and be present when the child has their first visits and overnight stays. The keyworker will be the first point of contact for you in the staff team to talk about anything to do with your child’s stays at Firvale. We also have a Firvale-to-home ‘contact book’ system for staff to tell you about the child’s stay each time they come, and for you to put your comments in and pass on any information. We are happy to speak to you by phone too as needed. Communication with children: We will talk to you and your child about how we can best communicate with your child. Staff are trained in the use of Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and Makaton signing, and liaise closely with home and school as required on each child’s individual communication needs. Any communication or language needs are addressed during the assessment/introduction process and will not be a block to accessing Firvale. We have regular times to meet up with parents/ carers so they can participate in the development and improvement of Firvale, and we also send out a parent satisfaction survey.

Is your service fully accessible?

Firvale is a purpose built unit that provides 9 bedrooms. Firvale is all on the ground floor and all rooms are wheelchair accessible. There is extensive equipment available to support the needs of children and young people who access Firvale including overhead tracking hoists in 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. There are height adjustable basins and bath available, as well as a walk-in shower room and wet room with shower trolley. We have profiling beds available. We have piped oxygen and suction into two of our bedrooms. We support other things that children need to fully access our service including photos, symbols and pictures.

What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEN and Disabilities had or are having?

All staff receive training in ‘core’ areas such as first aid, fire training, moving and handling of people, safeguarding children, meeting the needs of children with potentially challenging behaviours, diploma level 3 in health & social care, documentation training, food handling, management of epilepsy, asthma, gastrostomy feeding, medication training, health & safety training, communication strategies, child care law. We maintain close links with colleagues in local schools and specialist Occupational Therapists, and local community children’s nurses. Staff working with children with very complex health needs are qualified nurses.

How will I know my child is safe?

All children have the right to be safe and protected irrespective of their disability. Staff at Firvale have a key role in identifying abuse when it occurs and bringing it to the immediate attention of the responsible authority. All staff are made aware of the procedure for child protection at Firvale and know how to respond if they have any concerns. There is an in house procedure to guide all staff in the absence of the Registered or Deputy Manager. Staff are required to complete basic child protection training as part of their induction and annual updates are required after this. Firvale has an intimate care policy which aims to balance the need for respect in regard to individual privacy and dignity. It is essential that staff and children feel safe and protected.

Who can I contact for further information?

For families already using Firvale, the first point of contact would be the named keyworker. You could speak to any member of staff who is working that day if you need to speak to someone more quickly. Firvale has a Deputy manager and Registered manager and you can ask to speak to them if you need to. If you want to discuss if your child might need to use the service, please speak to your social worker. If you don’t have a social worker then you would need to refer your family to Children’s social care by calling Hantsdirect on 0845 603 5620 or email []. Overnight short breaks are part of a whole range of services offered, you can find out more about the services available by looking at the Short Breaks statement at

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