Published: 16:12, 21 May 2019
| Updated: 11:00, 22 May 2019
A welfare support team that operates across Kent and beyond has come up with a unique way to help children in care.
Serenity Welfare had initially started out as a transportation service - working with boroughs, local authorities, courts, youth offending teams and the police - for children and young adults in care but has quickly grown in stature.
And the reason for that surge in popularity is down to the compassionate handling of those young children in care - something which many say has always been missing.
“I believe children should be transported in prestigious vehicles to give them a sense of self worth as we are very much in the essence of nurturing them during the transportation,” said Emily Aklan, who is the founder and CEO of Serenity Welfare.
“These children are in care for a reason. They are not criminals.”
Emily knows only too well the sense of loss and the hardships endured by those children put into the care system.
After tragically losing her sister, she was faced with the struggle of getting those heartbroken children back from the care system and into her family.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SERENITY WELFARE
It was that experience that ignited her passion to do something to help and, within a few years, Serenity Welfare was born.
The fundamental aim of the team is to make the transportation of the child as relaxed and as comfortable as possible but to also make them feel that they are in a safe and welcoming environment.
“We treat these children and young people as we’d wish to be treated,” added Chris Priest, who is Head of Transport.
“Our vehicles are tailor-made to give those children being transported a sense of worth.”
Testament to that fact is the impressive fleet of Mercedes Benz used at Serenity Welfare.
Those vehicles are carefully selected due to their excellent record in safety, security and comfort both for passengers and staff members.
During transportation, young people are offered a welcome pack which will include refreshments along with other comfort items - such as pillows, blankets - as well as reading materials.
Serenity Welfare staff do not carry handcuffs but are instead fully-trained mentors and life coaches. The Company Policy is 'no handcuffs or caged vehicles'.
This allows them to relate and build a rapport with a child in their care. In the event of an issue, the same members of staff are trained to use de-escalation tactics.
Apart from Secure Transportation, Serenity Welfare has several other services and has set out an ambitious target of becoming the complete welfare package for young people in care.
One of the services is the Serenity Residential Home.
This home gives the children and young adults a sense of life skills and teaches them to become independent adults like cleaning, cooking, paying bills and budgeting food.
The complex is purposefully small so as to create a personal contact when dealing with two children and young people at a time.
Another invaluable service is mentoring.
“I believe every young person needs a mentor nowadays and mentoring is something that we provide in every aspect of our business,” continued Emily.
“And at the forefront of our business, is the welfare of the children.”
Serenity Welfare plays an active role in the local communities too and frequently takes to the road to promote the importance of mentoring at various schools and institutes.
Staff from Serenity Welfare visit these different educational establishments and do mentoring sessions with young people. These sessions could be gang-related, bereavement, bullying or whatever challenges they are going through in today’s society.
“Everybody can achieve whatever their hopes and dreams are in this life and we will help them do just that,” concluded Emily.
For more information about Serenity Welfare, visit their official website by clicking here or telephone 0203 903 2060.
More by this authorJohn Leonidou