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Helpful young people earn supersitters badge

Date: 16/07/2008           Category: Learning and Achievement

Students from Rochester Grammar School have been approved as supersitters in a scheme that aims to help families with disabled children. In January, Year 12 students put themselves forward to be considered for the sitting/befriending service, which is organised by Medway Council. To date four pupils have been approved as supersitters by the council's Homefinding Panel and three more applicants will be approved later this month. Mundill Mahil, Debbie Turner, Sukhminder Cheema and Charlotta Watson (all 17) were presented with their letters of confirmation today (Wednesday, 16 July). Three more students - Aneesha Mistry (17), Masooma Hussain (17) and Lilian Garratt-Smithson (16) will go before the Homefinding panel on 24 July. Before they are matched with a child and their family each young person is required to gain work experience at Parklands Resource Centre in Gillingham where centre staff will provide them with advice and guidance. Working at the centre also gives the teenagers invaluable experience of working with children. Mundill said: "We've all worked with children before and thought this would be a challenge and interesting. The idea is to give parents a break - if they're a single parent and want to go out for the day, we can provide them with an extra pair of hands." Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Care Cllr David Wildey said: “The young people have shown interest and commitment and undergone an exacting approval process. This has involved being subject to satisfactory statutory checks, attending a range of training courses and completing an assessment that is presented to the Medway Homefinding Panel." The council’s Director of Children and Adult Services Rose Collinson said: “We encourage young people across Medway to use their energy, skills and talents to volunteer to make a difference to children’s lives and life chances. I’m delighted that these students are now accredited ‘super sitters’ and able to help families with disabled children – well done to them.” Elizabeth Nichols, Deputy Head of Year at Rochester Grammar School for Girls and Angela Boyle, Link Scheme Co-ordinator, from the council’s fostering team worked together on the project. Angela said: "When the supersitters scheme was first introduced in 2000 it received very positive feedback from the young people and families involved. We envisage the scheme will be organised again next year to provide further opportunities for interested young people and for families with disabled children using the scheme.” Caption: The supersitters with teacher Elizabeth Nichols, Cllr David Wildey and Angela Boyle.