Article date – 10 January 2019

The council-run respite centre on Rainford Road – which provides short breaks for children and young people with complex health, learning and social communication needs – received a visit from inspectors in November 2018 and has been judged to be outstanding across the board.

The inspection came less than 12 months after Ofsted last paid a visit to Abbeyford which also resulted in an outstanding result.

Key findings from the report found that children are extremely happy and settled during their short stays at the home because of the ‘exceptional quality of care’ they receive – while it was noted that the home is a very safe place for children to stay in, with parents feeling confident that staff have the knowledge and skills to help and protect their children.

In addition, the inspector was full of praise for the effectiveness of leaders and managers who strive to ensure that children have positive experiences and that, as a result, children and their families benefit from the time children spend at the home.

Writing in her report, social care inspector, Lisa Mulcahy, also commented on the many positive experiences children encounter during their stays, like having the opportunity to participate in activities that may be new to them, such as visits to autism-friendly cinema screenings, trips to the zoo and meals out.

Speaking of his pride, Registered Manager Paul Spencer said: “We’ve established such a motivated and inspirational team of staff here who, together with the continued support of parents and guardians of the children and young people who attend Abbeyford, are without doubt the key to this success.

“Our attitude is to never get complacent and we will now look to aspire to maintain our outstanding status and continue to offer a quality service in the future to people in our communities who depend on us.”

Passing on his congratulations, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Developing Young People, Councillor Joe Pearson, said: “Abbeyford’s outstanding Ofsted result is what we hope all organisations and schools in the borough are aiming for. The report is a testimony to the dedicated team of staff who go above and beyond to ensure the children and young people in their care receive positive and rewarding experiences during their time there.

“As a caring council which been rewarded for the work it is doing with partners to improve adult social care in light of difficult financial pressures – we will continue to ensure our most vulnerable residents are kept safe and protected – and fantastic facilities like Abbeyford are a shining example of this.”

Assistant Director for School and Social Care Support Services, Pauline McGrath said: “As the accountable manager of Abbeyford, it’s been a pleasure to work with the team and other departments within the council to get this provision to its current standard of accommodation and the delivery of high quality care. I am delighted that we have maintained an outstanding Ofsted status.”

Photo caption: Staff, service users and their families only celebrated an Outstanding Ofsted report last year, and now Abbeyford has impressively maintained its outstanding status after a recent visit from inspectors. 


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