This week, we spoke to Katy Golding from Segelman Trust - one of the first Juno funders. She talked about what attracted the Trust to Juno, some challenges we may face and her hopes for the future of the sector.
Tell us about who you are and what you do
I’m Katy Golding, director at the Segelman Trust - a small grant-making charity. Most of the charities we support are working with children and young people in the UK who have care experience or are supporting families with the goal of preventing children from entering care.
I have three young daughters but when I can carve out time for myself, I love going to the theatre and reading. I have just finished the short novel, Foster by Claire Keegan and have started The Eighth Life which is over 900 pages – ask me next year what I think of it! Both books are about families and the impact of events and history – like most of the books I read.
What is your relationship to Juno?
Segelman Trust provided start-up funding to Juno. We hoped that flexible grant funding would enable the charity to start out confidently with the values that are the foundation of the project and which would set the direction – e.g., working with the ‘Young Leaders’ group to shape the homes, investing in staff training before opening the first home and building strong local partnerships.
What attracted us to Juno was our shared belief that all children who are unable to live with their families deserve the best possible care that communities can provide. Juno’s focus on children in their care feeling safe, known, and loved really spoke to us. Relationships and belonging are central to everybody’s ability to thrive and this was really reflected in the approach. Juno recognises that the relationships between staff and children are critical to a happy and nurturing home life and the organisation is committed to this in its practice.
Another stand-out element for us was the Young Leaders group – prioritising the voices of young people from the get-go and providing well-supported opportunities to participate in shaping the charity and the homes. This showed us that the Juno team was very intentionally thinking about young people’s needs.
How would you describe what Juno is looking to achieve?
I would say, first and foremost, it’s ensuring that children have a safe, happy nurturing home from which to grow. The outcomes for each individual child living are the main focus.
There’s also a broader mission around changing the way we think about, resource and deliver care for children within residential homes. Children in residential care are at greater risk of poor life outcomes than their peers and we must do better. Juno is aiming to show that better is possible - and how. They have been open about the successes, challenges, mistakes and failures –without accepting that things are just too difficult.
What excites you the most about working with Juno?
The people – the team is so inspiring, and the passion and commitment to young people are absolutely palpable. I’m excited to see the impact on young people when there is a very intentional investment in listening to the voices of those with lived experience of residential care; in the staff’s practice; and in building good relationships with local partners who are also invested in supporting these young people to thrive. I don’t mean to make any of this sound easy, but the Juno team is experienced, locally rooted, resourceful and reflective and so if anyone can do it…
There is a great opportunity for the wider sector to learn from this project (‘successes’ and ‘failures’) and other similar projects about how we can improve the care we provide for children who are unable to live with their families or foster carers.
What about the challenges? What’s going to be hard for Juno, and how should we be addressing that?
I would say recruitment and retention is likely to be the biggest challenge – so much of any young person’s experience of their home is based on the people caring for them, so finding the people that fit Juno’s values, and have the right skills and experience will be crucial. I think Juno has been really conscious of this fact and has thought very creatively and practically about how to attract the interest of good candidates and how to assess candidates’ suitability for the role – including young people’s input into that selection process. Once the team is in place, culture and support to grow as professionals will be critical – and the stability of the staff will make a big difference to the young people.
Evaluating the difference Juno makes might come with challenges, too, as there are so many other factors to consider, such as each child’s experiences at school and relationships outside the home. Moreover, the journey of each young person is unique and dynamic. It’s great that Juno has an evaluation partner on board and the Young Leaders’ voices will be a real asset in creating a useful methodology for monitoring and evaluating impact.
What are your hopes for residential care in the future?
I hope that the perception of a residential care home is turned on its head i.e., children’s homes are not a place of last resort but are seen as providing a loving and nurturing and aspirational environment when living at home or in foster care are not a good option. I hope that young people will no longer feel stigmatised by the experience but valued.
I also hope that we can plan for brilliant homes to be available in the places where young people need them, reducing the need for children to move away unnecessarily from their friends, families, schools and communities.
Interested in joining us? Find the latest vacancies here.