Our guide for young people

Welcome to our Atkinson family. We know you may be feeling worried about coming to Atkinson, but we are not a prison; we are a children’s home and staff don’t wear uniforms.

Our role is to look after you and positively support you through this challenging time. You’ll meet young people from different backgrounds and cultures at Atkinson and you will be treated equally and cared for.

You may have concerns about why you or other young people have come to Atkinson. Whatever the reason, we’ll look after you and keep you safe. We want to make your stay with us as positive as we can.

You will have a bedroom of your own with an ensuite bathroom. It is a light and airy room and you are encouraged to personalise it with your own pictures and posters.

Atkinson bedrooms and living spaces are in two zones – one called Brentor and one called Haytor – providing a homely environment for no more than six young people in each. In Brentor and Haytor there is the ability to make secure telephone or Skype calls (subject to your care plan), and they are approved and regulated by Ofsted.

You’ll meet lots of staff in the home who will support and help to care for you.

Our facilities

Atkinson offers a wide range of facilities including:

  • Atkinson School, with classrooms and a professional kitchen
  • a large garden with a polytunnel
  • an outdoor seated area for education and social purposes
  • a multi-purpose activities track
  • an outdoor play park
  • a self-contained living environment (high dependency) that includes a lounge, bedroom and garden
  • two lounges and life skill areas
  • a dedicated kitchen for day-to-day cooking and laundry facilities
  • an outdoor multi-purpose astro pitch and play area
  • a fully equipped outdoor workshop
  • a music room and range of instruments (instructors available)
  • an interactive TV, film and music system in all bedrooms
  • an internal and external music speakers
  • an in-built telephone in bedrooms
  • a full-sized gymnasium and cardio gym
  • an indoor sports hall with a small climbing wall
  • a fitness room (turbo machine x 2, running machine, rowing machine)
  • a sensory room

Young people can participate in a wide variety of sports and leisure activities within the Home, including climbing, gardening, football, cooking, arts and crafts, husbandry courses, equine and poultry care, football, basketball and table tennis.

The manager and staff promote positive experiences, comfort and choice for young people who live in at Atkinson. Structured activities provide young people the opportunity to explore and develop new talents and skills.

Planned activities include smoothie making, listening to favourite music, playing electronic games machines, quiz nights, beauty sessions and a range of outdoor activities.

Can I have visitors?

Yes. We know that it is important for you to stay in touch with your friends and family. You can have visitors from Monday to Friday 3.30 pm to 8.00 pm, and weekends and holidays 9.00 am to 8.00 pm.

All visits have to be booked in advance by calling us on 01392 457999 and we will give your parents or carers a leaflet about visiting Atkinson when you arrive here.

Visitors, such as your family, may want to bring you pocket money. We will look after any pocket money for you to make sure it is kept safe. We will also need to check any letters to make sure you aren’t being given anything harmful or illegal.

You can have two visitors at any one time. Any visitors under 18 must be accompanied by someone older. Visits are usually up to two hours, but can we can be flexible depending on circumstances.

If there is someone you don’t want to see please tell your key worker. If you are concerned about seeing someone, let us know and a member of staff can support you.

Can I phone my family?

Yes. You can make telephone calls from 3.30 pm until 8.30pm on school days and between 8.30 am and 8.30pm on weekends and in the holidays. You can phone your parents or carers, your social worker or your youth worker at any time from our office phone, but you must ask permission first.

Your family and your social worker can also call you on this line, and they will be given the number when you come to stay at the Atkinson. We don’t allow any mobile phones in the home.

Find out the answers to frequently asked questions about coming here.