Meet our Partners - Q&A with Jill Sheldrake
Meet the people who help to make Juno a reality. We spoke to one of the Juno board members, Jill Sheldrake, about Juno, the residential care sector and her hopes for its future.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Jill Sheldrake, Service Director of Together Trust – a charity that’s based across the Northwest, which supports young people in residential care, fostering, as well as educational and clinical services.
Previously, I’ve worked in residential care as a residential worker, manager and in more senior positions, over the last 28 years. So, care is very much at the centre of my working practice, and that’s what’s brought me into working with young people, and why I’m so interested in Juno.
What is your relationship to Juno?
I am a member of the Juno board. I first heard of Juno through some work with the Greater Manchester authorities. When I heard they were looking for board members, I thought it was something that’s really close to my heart, something I’d be interested in.
So that was how I first heard about it, and since then, the noise of Juno has been getting louder and louder, it’s such an exciting, different concept.
How would you describe what Juno is looking to achieve?
I think Juno is looking to create services for young people, designed with young people - really good quality residential care where relationships are key, and children have the opportunities that they should be awarded.
What excites you the most about working with Juno?
I think it’s the opportunity to start from scratch – the ability to get a real understanding of the values and beliefs and build a positive culture from the start. There have been so many things I would like to have done if I had set up services from the start, but it can be really hard to shoehorn them into existing structures. In particular, the work around social pedagogy, and learning from our European colleagues. It never quite works the way you want, when trying to bring positives into an existing culture, so I’m very excited to see it all come to life, with these values existing here from the beginning.
What about the challenges? What will be hard for Juno?
It’s putting the theory into practice. At the moment, across the care sector bringing the right staff in is a real challenge, and getting the right people is key to building that culture. I think it’s about starting small, building the culture, and then growing, bringing the culture from one home to the next, and really focussing on the quality from the outset.
What are your hopes for residential care in the future?
I’d like to see residential care as one of the first choices for young people. At the moment, it’s very much seen as the last resort for local authorities, and some of that is based on cost. But, if you’re working with younger people, you have the opportunity to support them back into family settings, to really give them a sense of managing their trauma, working with them and developing positive relationships. So residential care - when done well – when working with the families, the carers, with young people, it can be a great opportunity for young people, but it’s not currently seen that way.
My hope is that we will look at that, we’ll look at residential as a really positive option for some young people – not all young people, but those who it’s right for, absolutely. It would be great to see the change in reputation, and people thinking differently about residential care and its workforce. Often the most caring, passionate people work in the sector, but they don’t get recognised for what they do and the significant difference they make.
Do you want to be a part of the future of Juno? Maybe a career in Children’s residential care is the right move for you? Download the job pack to find out more: