Frequently Asked Questions

About Lighthouse

Lighthouse is a charity that creates life-changing, education-focused children’s homes to ensure that children in care have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Our founder and Director, Emmanuel, was inspired by his own experience of being a teacher, and wanted to ensure that other children had the best chance of reaching their potential. He has visited children’s homes all over the world to understand best practice and bring it back to the UK.

Lighthouse uses a social pedagogy approach, which is well regarded and commonly used in western Europe, but less so in England. It means we develop potential through strong relationships with others and have a focus on holistic learning. We want young people in our care to actively participate in society and have a network of strong relationships. We train new staff rigorously so that they can successfully support children using social pedagogy. We have a strong ethos centered on education and aim for children to attend local schools, have stability at home and take part in lots of activities. We are not-for-profit, so any money we make is reinvested back into the homes.

Social pedagogy is a holistic, multi-disciplinary, strengths-based approach focused on relationships, empowerment, learning and wellbeing.

It starts with the belief that there is a ‘diamond’ of rich potential inside every child, which can be developed and strengthened through authentic relationships and shared activities. It is a common foundation in services for children and families in continental Europe, but relatively new and unfamiliar to the UK.

We are setting up the first home in Sutton, south west London. We purposely chose London because there are not enough children’s homes in London at the moment. The anticipated opening date is late 2021.

We plan to grow over the coming years and open more homes in areas of need.

We have numerous funders who give us grants to obtain and prepare our homes for the children. Once the home is set up, local authorities pay for children in their care to live with us.

About our first home in Sutton

We have space for 6 children in the home, who are aged 12 – 18 years.

There are multiple reasons why a child may be ‘looked after’ by a local authority, and live in a Lighthouse home.

  • The child’s parents might have agreed to this – for example, if they are too unwell to look after their child.
  • It is not safe for the child to remain at home.
  • The child could be an unaccompanied asylum seeker, with no responsible adult to care for them.
  • Children’s services may have intervened because they felt the child was at significant risk of harm, if this is the case the child is usually the subject of a court-made legal order.

Every young person in care is a unique individual, full of rich talents and with a valuable contribution to make. However, many young people in care have faced enormous challenges in their lives, like living through abuse and neglect. The impact of trauma can have long-lasting effects on all aspects of their development, including their mental health, and this can manifest itself in some really difficult behaviour at times. Some of the young people we care for may, for example, react with confrontational, violent, sexualised, risk-taking or very withdrawn behaviour, which can feel challenging to cope with. Our staff will be provided with training and support to enable them to support young people to heal and grow, however, a high degree of personal resilience is very important to be effective in caring for them.

We are working in partnership with local residents, partners and the local community. We will be holding informal events to get to know people better. We have good links with local partners such as the schools, health services and social services and attend regular meetings. We are using local community businesses to help with the refurbishment of our building in Sutton.

There will be a Registered Manager, Deputy Manager, Senior Social Pedagogy Practitioners and Social Pedagogy Practitioners and an office manager. There will usually be a minimum of 3 staff in the home at any one time and staffing ratios will vary at different times to meet the needs of young people in the home.

Staff will work 40 hours per week across a rolling rota shift pattern. This will include early, late and regular sleep-in shifts and may include some waking night shifts. We aim to plan rotas as far in advance as possible and to keep the rota pattern consistent. However, rota patterns and staffing ratios may be varied at times depending on the needs of young people, and the ability to work flexible hours including weekends and bank holidays is essential.

Every day in a children’s home is different, but we try to keep to a routine. On weekdays, usually young people will have breakfast, go to school, college or work experience, come back and relax or take part in activities, and go to bed. Some of the children may not be attending school, and some may have a different routine. At the weekend, we do activities together and young people may spend time with family or friends.

Staff will support young people to attend appointments with other professionals, such as those in health or education, as part of their care and planning for their futures. So, for staff and young people, a typical day in the life of the home can involve spending as much time out and about in the community as in the home itself.

As part of our social pedagogic approach, we place a particular importance on fun and challenging shared activities that help nurture relationships and young people’s participation and growth. Staff will be responsible for planning, arranging and taking part in a range of activities with young people, including going on holidays together.

Placing children in the home

At the moment we are working in partnership with local authorities to try to accommodate children nearby, and prevent children having to travel long distances to see family, friends and professionals. If you are a local authority interested in referring a child to our Sutton children’s home, please contact us by clicking here.

Our home in Sutton is for young people who will benefit from a supportive and loving home environment. Our team understand that as a result of their lived experiences, some of our young people may express themselves in ways that require an extra layer of compassion, patience and understanding and we are set up to help navigate these complex emotional dynamics. We do not offer respite, therapy on site, and we are not able to help young people with complex special needs and disabilities.

We are only able to accept referrals from local authorities. We do not accept referrals from private individuals and families. Please click here to refer to us.

The cost varies per placement depending on the needs of the child. Please get in touch with us if you would like to discuss placing a child with us in more detail.

We prefer for medium to long term placements so that we can get to know the young person and provide the best support.

We are not able to accept emergency placements at present.

Jobs and volunteering

We are recruiting a diverse team to work in the home, who have varying life experiences, skills and strengths. We are looking for people who are committed to working with young people in care, and want to encourage and help them to reach their goals. We are looking for enthusiastic team players, who have a positive attitude, a willingness to get stuck in, and the determination to make our first home a success!

You may not have worked in a children’s home before, but you may have lots of transferable skills or experience of working with children in another setting.

We will be looking for people who align closely with our values of respect, playfulness, difference, empowerment, curiosity and excellence.

As a social pedagogy practitioner, you will provide day to day care to young people in our home, while receiving training and support to achieve qualifications in social pedagogy over the first two years of employment. At Lighthouse, your role will be to ensure that children in our home receive the best care possible and have the same opportunities as everyone else. You will work closely with their families to strengthen relationships and help them to achieve their potential.

You will build strong relationships with young people on an individual and group basis, engaging in fun and practical activities with them. You will support them on their journey through their teenage years, help them figure out their future plans, and work towards their goals. You will help keep them safe and act as an advocate and role model for them. You will work with young people, their families, your team and partner agencies to achieve this.

Yes, we are interested in hearing from care-experienced people. We also welcome applications from people with lived experience of issues affecting children in care and their families.

In your first two years working for us, you will complete our accredited training programme that will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to run and lead a children’s home. Our qualifications are recognised beyond residential care.

You will receive specialist training in topics such as social pedagogy, leadership, attachment theory, child mental health and child development, and you will receive ongoing training relevant to children in care.

You will receive regular formal support through regular supervision with your line manager, weekly team meetings and individual and group reflective practice. Informally, you will get to know your team very well and support each other.

As a Senior Social Pedagogy Practitioner, you will need to have worked in a children’s home for at least 18 months. You will also need to have experience of supervising staff, shift leading, and the knowledge and skills to work alongside the manager and deputy in coaching, mentoring and developing the staff team. You will receive additional management training opportunities to further your own professional development.

We have with plans to grow over the coming years, so there will be opportunities for you to grow with us. There will be opportunities to continue as a practitioner in our homes, take on more responsibility in our organisation, or continue your training and become a children’s home manger in one of our homes or beyond. If you decide to move on, you will leave with a great skills and qualifications that will set you up for a great career.

Yes, we will be looking for volunteers who would like to help us get the building ready as we get closer to opening our first home. You might be an individual or an organisation interested in gardening, landscaping, building work. You might also be interested in communications or campaigning. When the home opens, we will be looking for volunteers to help us run activities and help children do homework. Please get in touch with us if you are interested in volunteering by clicking here.

You do not need to have any training or qualifications to work at Lighthouse. We hire for potential, so we encourage applications from people who feel they may not meet every aspect of the person specification.

We are currently only recruiting for full time roles, although we may have part time roles in future.

Lighthouse recognises the contribution that ex-offenders can make as employees and so we welcome applications from ex-offenders. However, all roles within our homes are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, so all instances of previous cautions and convictions will need to be disclosed. An Enhanced DBS check with a check of the children’s barred list will be required prior to any offer of employment. We will not process applicants who have been barred from working with children in line with The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. More information can be found at the Disclosure and Barring Service website here.

Yes, you must be 21 years to work or volunteer at Lighthouse.

No, but you will need to have the right to work in the UK. All applicants invited to interview will be asked to provide documentary evidence of their right to work in the UK.