What is Wiltshire Portage?
Wiltshire Portage is an independent organisation and a registered charity . It provides a free home visiting service to over 35 families in the towns and villages in the North Wiltshire, Devizes, West Wiltshire and Kennet areas. The service operates during term time for 38 weeks a year and children can receive Portage from birth to school entry. North Wilts & Devizes Portage Service aims to work with families and young children by providing unique learning opportunities through structured play.
The children who use the service have a wide range of needs. Portage Home Visitors use a variety of developmental checklists and journals to help identify a child's strengths and goals for future learning. Portage offers a carefully structured flexible system to help parents take the lead in planning future goals for their child. Once goals have been identified, the Portage Visitors works alongside parents offering practical help and ideas to support the child's learning and address problematic situations.
The aim of Portage is to support the development of young children's play, communications and relationships within the family. Beyond the home Portage aims to support the young child's inclusion in the wider community.
The Service works closely with other Early Years professionals, District Specialist Centres and members of the child health teams. Staff attend HELM, LISM's, DISM's
We also offer Portage families, Makaton training. During the school holidays we provide drop-in sessions and a telephone support service.
The Portage Team
Portage Home Visitors have a wide range of experience of working with families and children and have received additional training from the National Portage Association.
Portage Home Visitors are supported by the Portage Service Manager and the Portage Service Administrator. Portage Home Visitors visit each family for approximately one to one and a half hours weekly or fortnightly in the child's own home.
Working together parents and Portage Home Visitors observe, play and then design activities aimed at helping the child learn new skills. The emphasis is on the positive, finding out and building on what a child can do.
The Portage Management Team
The service is supported by a Management Team with members from relevant professionals, present and past parents and some interested members of the local community.
Management meetings are held four times a year, this includes the AGM in September. We are always looking for new members, so please contact the office if you can or know of anyone who may be able to help.
Due to the Portage model and the nature of our visits, staff will often be the first people to sense that there is a problem. The service has a duty to be aware that abuse does occur in our society. This statement lays out the procedures that will be followed if we have any reason to believe that a child/family/adult receiving Portage visits is subject to emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or neglect.
Our prime responsibility is the welfare and well-being of all children that use the service. As such we believe we have a duty to the children, parents/carers, and staff to act quickly and responsibly in any instance that may come to our attention.
The service has a duty to report any suspicion of abuse to the Local Authority, who in turn has a duty to investigate such matters. The service will follow the procedures set out in the Local Safeguarding Children Board and as such will seek advice on all steps taken subsequently from the Duty Social Worker.