Simon Barr - Founder
Back in 1990, as a 13-year-old boy, Simon Barr was placed in care and it was his experiences during the time spent living in residential care that started a life-long journey to make sure that young people in similar circumstances get a far better start in life than he did.
Where WhiteTrees – SureCare started
Without the love and support of just a few kind and caring Individuals, SureCare may never have been created. Out of hundreds of professionals who affected his life during the time spent in care, only a very few succeeded in engaging and motivating him. Over the years, Simon asked himself so many times why, and the answer that kept coming back was that these few who truly cared about him and succeeded in building a strong bond and relationship with him had made a difference.
Simon’s experiences as a young boy formed the ethos behind SureCare which are still very much in place today. In December 2008 SureCare opened the door of our its first home with the aim of accepting every young person and to start the process of building relationships based on trust and honesty that would start to make the difference in their lives.
One factor that Simon struggled with was how a number of the organisations he had previously either worked in or come into contact with seemed not genuinely child-focused. They were constantly talking about being so but, somewhere along the way, this key focus was being lost in translation. It was difficult to see whether the problem was down to the severity of the children’s behavioural problems or whether it was the actual care environment that was not quite right. This was the driving force behind our model and how our homes were staffed and maintained to look and feel like family homes.
It was felt that low staffing ratios, insufficient input from appropriately qualified professionals and an absence of proper programmes evolved for the particular needs of the young person were all largely responsible for the lack of success in turning around the lives of these young people.
Simon also knew that perhaps another one of the biggest factors in achieving success was to ensure we cared as much about our staff as the young people we care for. They both need to learn, be supported and receive encouragement in just the same way. They both need appropriate facilities, tools and support to be able to achieve the outcomes that we strive to give our young people.
We truly believe that to work successfully with challenging behaviours the psychology behind them must be understood and as such we quickly made links with a remarkable psychologist who not only began providing our staff with training and clinical supervision but collaborated with us on our outstanding clinical assessments and treatment plans for our young people.
Since opening, SureCare have has five successful well-appointed homes in Hertfordshire and Essex, a well-trained and enthusiastic staff compliment led by a team of top, home-grown, professionals who share our ethos, and a fine record of helping young people to move towards fulfilling adulthood.
In addition, we have an Independent school ‘White Trees’ which provides an individually tailored programme of education to our students but first and foremost nurtures them as individuals who have had little or no success in schools previously.
Our plan in moving forward is to scale what we do and acquire more homes and develop our educational facility and along the journey improve our specialist services, therefore creating the WhiteTrees Group as part of our natural and organic progression.