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3.6.1 Leisure and Activities

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter sets out the general principles in relation to leisure and recreation, which should be applied to all Looked After children.

It should be read in conjunction with Activities for Children Procedure


Contents

  1. General 
  2. Computers, Electronic Games, Videos and Films 


1. General

  1. All Looked After children must be encouraged to participate in recreational, social and leisure activities, which reflect their own choices, culture and religion, and are suitable to their needs and interests, on a group and individual basis; within and outside the home. This will contribute to developing the child's confidence and self-esteem. Particular attention will be given to developing the child's confidence in their ethnic and cultural identity;
  2. Whilst children will be encouraged to develop independence in filling their leisure time, staff/carers will also give priority to talking with, doing things with and sharing experiences with children in the placement;
  3. Children should have occasional opportunities to participate in special trips, outings and have at least one holiday per year;
  4. Birthdays, name days, cultural and religious festivals must be celebrated;
  5. Children must be encouraged to pursue hobbies, recreational interests and sports; and to take part in local community activities;
  6. There should be a proper balance between free and controlled time in the child’s daily routine;
  7. Risk assessments must be completed before activities are undertaken and plans implemented to reduce or prevent identified risks (see Activities for Children Procedure);
  8. Where required, qualified or certified staff/instructors must be engaged/employed;
  9. Children should have access to, and a choice in the selection of, newspapers, books, comics and magazines suitable to their age and level of understanding;
  10. Children should have access to, preferably ownership of, suitable toys, music, books, arts materials and games;
  11. Transport used by the home should not be marked in such a way as to distinguish it from an ordinary family vehicle, unless it has been received by the home as a charitable donation in which case it may carry the name of the donating charity;
  12. Children should be encouraged and enabled to make and sustain friendships with children of their own age outside the home. This may involve friends visiting the home, and reciprocal arrangements to visit friends’ homes. (See also Contact with Parents / Adults and Siblings Procedure and Overnight Stays and Social Visits Procedure for the contact that residential staff/foster carers can agree).

If the social worker and team manager/assistant team manager believe that any special payment is necessary or justified, for example:

  • A special payment to support the child’s hobbies or sports activities;
  • A special payment to support the child in developing useful skills, e.g. driving lessons, purchase of tools

The social worker should make a written application to the relevant Service Manager for funding.


2. Computers, Electronic Games, Videos and Films

  1. Children should be encouraged and supported to use computer technology, including the Internet, and electronic games suitable to their age and level of understanding;
  2. Children may only watch videos, television programmes or films designated for their age.

See also Access to Computers and Information Communication Technologies (including the Internet) Procedure.

End