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Stoke-on-Trent Aiming High

Answering your questions

If you have a question about our services, why not check out our Frequently Asked Questions. If you still can't find the answer you are looking for, please do get in touch as we are always happy to discuss and support you where we can.

COVID 19: Suspection of activities.

Due to the COVID 19 outbreak, as of Friday 20th March we are regrettably suspending the booked activities for children and young people for the foreseeable future. We are obviously very sad to have to do this but it is the only course of action in these circumstances.

Our staff are available to talk to you and provide support on the phone:01782 683129

How many free activities can I book for my child?

Your child can access a minimum of: - one short break opportunity a month, - an additional short break during Easter and half term holidays, and - two additional short breaks during the summer holidays.

Additional activities You can also contribute towards further activities each month You can contribute to as many additional activities as are available

Costs of these are:

  • £5 activity up to 3 hours
  • £7.50 activity up to 5 hours
  • £8.50 activity 5 five hours with transport from a central meeting point
  • £7 family activity

How do I book core activities?

To book your core offer activities all you need to do is call us on 01782 683129 (Monday – Friday 9am-5pm) or email the address above between 1st and 10th of the month. You need to call us each month to book activities for the following month. As part of your core offer you need to tell us what you’d like your child to take part in. We’ll let you know we have your choices and we’ll confirm whether your child has a place. If you’d like to book further activities, please get in touch after the 10th of the month and we will tell you about the contributions you need to pay for.

How can I register my child with Aiming High?

If you haven’t already, register your child with Aiming High by emailing us on web.stokeontrent@actionforchildren.org.uk.

Is the activity suitable for my child?

Next to each activity we have symbols to give you more information.

The age given tends to be a guide only, apart from the team at Children and Families Staffordshire who can only accept children under 12 years-old.

If you’d like clarification do give us a call.

How many additional activities can I book?

If you’d like to book your child on more activities, there will be a contribution to pay:

  • £5.00 for up to three hours
  • £7.50 for up to five hours
  • £8.50 for five hours with transport from a central meeting point
  • £7.00 for a family activity

You can book as many as you wish subject to availability.

Are the activities booked on a first-come first-served basis?

We don’t allocate activities like this. All you need to do is give a few choices and we’ll look at your child’s activity history so that activities can be allocated fairly, and all children can access the opportunities.

When should I pay for my activities and transport?

Either at the time of booking or by the end of the month the charges relate to.

Please ring or call the office and pay by credit or debit card.

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How do I pay for activities and transport?

You can pay by:

  • Send a cheque to our office – made payable to Action for Children

    • Pay with cash or card at the office (we are open 9am-5pm, Monday – Friday). Suite 31 Dudson Centre, Hope Street, Hanley ST1 5DD.
  • Send a postal order to the office address.

  • Call us on 01782 683129 and pay over the phone by credit or debit card.

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What happens if I don't pay by the end of the month?

Policy for Non-payment of contribution charges

The Aiming High service charges contribution toward additional activities over and above the core offer entitlement. There is also a contribution required for transport which is provided. Transport is subject to a separate assessment to determine eligibility.

Non-payment of contributions is not a situation the programme can accept for many reasons including the fact it is unfair on those who do pay and limits the funding available to the service

When activities and transport are booked it is made clear at the time of booking what the contribution will be. Additionally confirmation letters confirm the contribution required,

A range of payment methods are available to parents/carers and we have recently extended these to make the process more convenient.

These are

  • Calling into the office to pay cash or card

  • Sending a cheque or postal order

  • Card payments over the phone at the time of booking

With effect from 1st March 2016 if families have not paid the contributions for the previous 2 months then no additional activities can be booked i.e. starting with activities requested for April 2016.

Ongoing if families have not paid for the previous month’s activities and they owe more than £20 then no more additional activities can be booked without settling the payments.

If families have special circumstances they should contact the office and ask to discuss these with the Service Coordinator on 01782 683129.

I can’t get through on the booking line, how else can I book?

We’d love to hear from you, give us a call or send an email and we’ll get back to you.

Email web.stokeontrent@actionforchildren.org.uk and don’t forget to give as many preferences as you would like, please email your core offer choices between 1st and 10th of month and additional activities between 11th and 15th of month.

A confirmation letter will be sent to you.

Please note we are only able to process emails during 9am-5pm, after this time, your email will be looked at the next working day.

I forgot to call or email within the booking period, can we still take part?

Don’t worry, give us a call and we’ll see what we can do. Please be aware your preference might have gone but we’ll tell you what’s available.

I have some concerns or suggestions, how do I pass them on to you?

Action for Children is always interested to hear your views and we aim to include as many new activities into the programme as possible.

Please let us know your thoughts about the programme by calling us on 01782 683129 or email us on web.stokeontrent@actionforchildren.org.uk.

We always want to get the views of children and young people. Please let us know what your children think, we also get feedback in lots of ways from activities.

If you have a complaint

At Action for Children we are committed to quickly and effectively resolving complaints. If you have a complaint, please contact the office and ask to speak to a co-ordinator who will talk to you about the issue. Alternatively, you can email via the contact form on the website or write a letter. However, if you are not comfortable to do this please contact Complaints Manager Action for Children, 3 The Boulevard, Ascot Road, Watford, WD18 8AG

What happens if my child is unable to attend a booked activity?

You must give us 24 hour’s notice (we often have people on waiting lists, so we will be able to offer the place to another child).

If you fail to attend three sessions, without informing us beforehand, in three months, the offer of future places may be withheld.

We understand that there are exceptional times when you are not able to attend without giving notice, for example emergency appointments and your child being ill.

Please inform us within 48 hours of the activity before your child’s nonattendance is recorded.

Can I get in touch to ask a question or give feedback

Get in touch via email, phone, or come and visit us.

Or complete this form and send it to us,

What should I give my child to take with them on an activity

Your child can bring a packed lunch on a cool bag and a drink.

What information do you keep on a child?

When a child or young person starts using an Action for Children project, or takes part in any of our activities, their personal data is recorded. Depending on the type of work we are doing, this is likely to include sensitive personal data. If we need to keep this type of information, we will ask for your consent. We want you to be happy with the information you give us, understand what it might be used for and who it might be shared with and be assured that what you give us is kept safe and secure. Because we have a duty to protect children and young people, we will share information with other organisations when it is needed to help keep a child or other individual safe from harm.

Legal stuff -Data Protection Action for Children works within the legal framework for data protection and supports your right to privacy – to see, change and challenge information held about you.

We also have our own rules about how information about you is stored and used. Many of the services that Action for Children provides are paid for by other organisations, including both local and national government departments. Where this is the case, the data you give us will also be available to that organisation. Both Action for Children and the other organisation may be joint data controllers or only one of them is the data controller. A data controller is the organisation (or organisations) that has a duty and responsibility to ensure your information is processed lawfully. The data controller for your information will depend on the service or project you attend Where information is given to other organisations as a data controller, they will be legally responsible for what they do with that information, while we remain responsible for what we do with the personal information we keep.

What do you do with information you hold on a child?

Action for Children wants to be sure that the services we provide are high quality and that they meet your needs. To do this we record information about you this information is kept in a file, which may be an electronic or a paper file. The file contains information about you, and about key people in your life, such as parents, people who live with you or are important in your life, and people such as social workers, teachers and doctors.

You can ask to see your information at any time by asking a member staff at your service. Staff working with you and the senior manager in charge have access to your file, which is kept securely. Because we want to be sure that the services we provide to you are high quality, other managers and staff may need to monitor (audit) your file for quality. We will keep your file for as long as we need to, by law. The length of time your file is kept depends on the service you receive.

Further information This section explains what we do with the personal information you give to us. If you do not understand this information or would like to know more, please speak to someone at at Stoke Aiming High, or contact the Information Governance Officer by calling 01923 361 500 or visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk

Action for Children works within the legal framework for data protection and supports your right to privacy – to see, change and challenge information held about you.

We also have our own rules about how information about you is stored and used. Many of the services that Action for Children provides are paid for by other organisations, including both local and national government departments. Where this is the case, the data you give us will also be available to that organisation.

Both Action for Children and the other organisations may be joint data controllers or only one of them is the data controller. A data controller is the organisation (or organisations) that has a duty and responsibility to ensure your information is processed lawfully. The data controller for your information will depend on the service or project you attend.

Where information is given to other organisations as a data controller, they will be legally responsible for what they do with that information, while we remain responsible for what we do with the personal information we keep.

Will you provide transport?

If you feel transport is a barrier to your child accessing an activity, please give us a call to discuss this. Following the discussion if transport is required a £7.00 charge may be implemented.

Can I stay with my child/ren during activities?

The aim of the programme is for children to gain skills and independence as well as giving parents/carers a break, therefore as a rule parents/carers do not stay at activities.

We do understand that that some children need support to settle in, therefore we would always be willing to talk to you about a short term plan in order for you to support your child.

We want to make sure all children and young people are safe and have a great time, so we have introduced a policy for those new to the programme. The first two sessions that children come to will be limited to 2-3 hours and take place locally to make sure that we can get your support if they aren’t settled. You will be advised more about this when you book for the first time.

Please speak to the service coordinator to agree this. We do also offer family activities which the whole family are welcome to come and enjoy together.

I live in Staffordshire, but not in Stoke-on-Trent. Can I access Stoke Aiming High?

If you live in Staffordshire but outside of Stoke on Trent you can book activities from the 11th of the month. This change brings the Programme in line with the policies regarding Stoke families accessing the Staffordshire Aiming High Programme.

For Staffordshire Families Action for Children have been successful with the new Aiming High contract and it will begin 1st October 2019.

The new Aiming High service is commissioned by Stoke on Trent local authority and is a targeted short breaks service for children and young people with a disability and their families that live in Stoke on Trent.

A charging policy is currently in place for any activity which a child/young person accesses above and beyond the core offer. Bookings for such activities are taken from 11th-15th of the month prior, along with bookings for Staffordshire families accessing their core offer within this period.

We share the councils desire to improve the offer to parents and children/young people and by working towards the longer term sustainability of this programme, priority for the programme ultimately lies with children and families that reside in the Stoke On Trent area.

From the start of the new contract 1st October 2019 any family classed as living outside of Stoke on Trent we will have a nominal charge for all activities that are booked from 11th of the month, meaning that all activities booked within the Stoke ON Trent Aiming High programme will be at a cost.

There is a Staffordshire Aiming High programme commissioned by Staffordshire county council that is open to 0-25 year olds with a special educational need/disability who live in Staffordshire and you can access a set amount of free activities each month. For further information on this please call 0300 111 8007.

My child is new to the programme, how will they be settled in?

We want to make sure all children and young people are safe and have a great time, so we have introduced a policy for those new to the programme. The first two sessions that children come to will be limited to 2-3 hours and take place locally to make sure that we can get your support if they aren’t settled. You will be advised more about this when you book for the first time.

What is the policy on bullying, harassment and abuse?

We take a zero tolerance approach to bullying, harassment and abuse – physical or verbal. Anyone who abuses Action for Children staff or volunteers may put at risk access to the service for them and their family members.

We understand that caring for children with additional needs can be a very demanding and stressful role and hope that our short breaks activities can support you in your caring role.

We do however at times and very rarely experience a parents/carer that may be frustrated and or angry on the phone. This is an experience that we would hope to be able to rectify where possible, however there may be the occasion where we will explain that we are unable to deal with this issue at this time and staff will put the phone down and ask that parents call back when they have had the opportunity to calm down.

You will be very welcome to call back and we will then be able to deal with your issues.

What age children and young people can access Stoke Aiming High?

Stoke Aiming High programme is available to those that are aged from birth up until their 18th birthday.

With the start of the new contract (October 20190) there will be some changes occurring that unfortunately will affect young people aged 18 – 20 years. This change being that the programme will now only be available to those that are aged from birth up until their 18th birthday.

We understand that change can be very difficult for young people with disabilities; consequently, transition to adulthood is a particularly confusing time, which we know can bring a lot of anxiety. In planning and implementing the change in age range we will ensure that if you are affected that we fully support you and will explain how the programme will adapt to provide more preparation for transition and we will do our upmost to point you in the right direction for further support and advice.