A County Durham young people’s home continues to provide outstanding care for young people, according to Ofsted.

Aycliffe Secure Centre, which provides a secure and caring home for vulnerable young people between the ages of 10 and 18, was judged as outstanding across all areas in 2019 and received an assurance visit last month from Ofsted which again highly praised the quality of care at the home.

Findings from November’s visit praised staff for building supportive relationships with young people and for being nurturing in their care of young people with complex needs.

The report noted that healthcare staff at the centre, including the commissioned mental health service, have ensured that young people can access regular support for their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The centre, which is run by Durham County Council, has recently revamped its gym facilities to include a range of high-standard weight and cardio machines to allow young people to enjoy physical exercise and support their emotional wellbeing.

Gym programmes are individually developed by PE teachers at the centre’s school and all young people are provided with a gym induction.

A park area with swings has been recently developed and includes areas for outdoor games such as chess. This couples with a designated horticultural area with electricity-run polytunnels for use all year round.

The horticultural area forms part of the centre’s school curriculum and benefits young people through their enjoyment of being able to grow food while allowing them to develop qualifications where appropriate.

All of these developments further enhance the opportunities for young people at the centre to achieve life skills and qualifications for the future.

Multi-agency staff have also been using a range of resources to help young people to understand the changing situation of the coronavirus pandemic.

For example, staff have been using social stories to explain the reasons for imposed restrictions and have introduced wellness packs to enhance young people’s well-being.

The Ofsted inspector commented that staff have proactively supported young people to maintain relationships with families and professionals during periods of coronavirus restrictions.