VRAC Summer Newsletter

Aims and impact of VRAC we are hoping to see locally:Logo VRAC

In short, the VRAC (Village to Raise a Child) project aims to reduce the number of early school leavers, by supporting young people’s social and emotional wellbeing. MAP will work in close partnership with three Norwich schools and with the communities they serve – to provide the
support, information and opportunities that can make all the difference to a young person’s ability to engage well in their education, to enjoy their community and to reach their full potential.

Through these opportunities the project aims to address the numerous and complex challenges that young people experience which can create barriers to their educational, social and personal development.

VRAC schools, who are our schools and our relationship with them
MAP will work in partnership with three Norwich schools.

At present, we are working with City of Norwich School (CNS) and Jane Austen College. MAP is working hard to finalise an agreement with a third school in the area.

MAP has worked with CNS since 2015, initially through our Early Action project. As a result, we have built a strong relationship with the school and its students, and look forward to continuing our work there with the VRAC project.

MAP started working with Jane Austen College towards the end of 2019, and began offering support to students at the beginning of 2020. Jane Austen College have embraced MAP’s values and the support we are able to offer young people; it has been a promising start to our working

Our offer – what services we are offering within each school:
The VRAC project will develop an integrated child and community-oriented service in partnership CNS, Jane Austen College and a third school by jointly creating and offering a person-centred “menu” of support and engaging opportunities. An important concept of this project is that young people will have an active part to play in choosing the support and activities that they engage with.
This support offer includes:
• After-school groups, groups in school time and lunch time ‘life zones’ which aim to improve self-confidence and levels of engagement in education.
• Mentoring and mediation support for individuals to support them through challenging times
and to help them to communicate their needs and perspective more effectively.
• Counselling for individuals who would like support with their emotional wellbeing

MAP will also be working with the schools’ communities of staff, parents, carers and significant adults in young people’s lives in order to support the social and emotional well-being of young people together. To this end we will offer:
• Training and support for school staff in areas relevant to student and staff mental health and wellbeing.
• Training and support for parents in subjects that local parents feel would be useful. We will work with our partner schools to consult with parents and guardians as to what subjects are important to them.
• We will work with local organisations and professionals to ensure that the most relevant support and best opportunities are available to young people, their families and their schools when they need them.
The VRAC Network – what is the network and examples of who is involved.
MAP will continue to facilitate a network of local organisations and professionals that work to support young people. Recent organisations to attend network meetings include The Garage, The
Matthew Project, Spurgeons and the Norwich International Youth Project.
We aim to hold network meetings once per term, where possible in our partnership schools. MAP will invite pastoral workers and key staff to join the network meetings in order to fully explore the support available to their students. MAP will share bulletins from these network meetings with
parents, along with the ways they can contact organisations to find out more.

We will continue to facilitate training, and hope members can share their knowledge, information and skills with the wider network. Recent training topics have included supporting young carers, trauma informed practice, and trending drugs. Unfortunately, upcoming training had to be
cancelled due to Covid-19.
Covid 19 – How we are working with Covid-19 and what are we doing to adapt.
Covid-19 has posed a significant challenge to the VRAC project and our partner schools. In terms of supporting students, MAP has moved all support to online platforms or telephone. One-to-one support, such as counselling and mentoring, is being offered to students by Zoom, though some young people opt for phone calls instead. Mediation sessions between young people and significant adults have also taken place by Zoom. In addition, we are exploring ways to continue our lunch time drop-in life zones so that we can continue to support as many students as possible.