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Welcome to your accommodation issue!

f re e Young people leaving care in Devon

The Foyer: Supported living in Exeter

Amazing Amber Living at the Atkinson Step inside the Hennis Project a W hat's it like in e foster residential car home?

What do you know about The YES, The SLS and DYPAS?

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Welcome to the autumn edition of About Us

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The Foyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Amazing Amber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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The Hennis Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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DYPAS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Our house . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Atkinson Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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The YES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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The SLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Growing up in care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Bethany House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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A big thank you to the Exeter Voices to be Heard Youth Group who, facilitated by Artist Sophy Miles, came up with the concept and resulting collage that features on the cover as a visual for the magazine theme ‘Accommodation’. modation issue! Welcome to your accom

Young people leaving

Contact & Contribute

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Editorial Ben Bachle Kelly Doonan

Design team Wendy Wedgery Sophy Miles Peninsular OneSource And thank you to all the young people involved for having brilliant ideas!


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The Foyer By Sophy Miles

Recently I went to visit The Foyer, a supported living environment on Exeter Quay run by Guinness Care and Support. The young people I met were engaging, vivacious and had positive stories to tell, even if their beginnings were not so good. With 36 young people aged 16-21 living there, things could get quite fraught, but they were all keen to point out that even if they fall out and argue, if someone is in trouble they all rally around and show concern. They are all very protective of each other. There are two stages to the Foyer, the first is to share self-contained â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;flatsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, where young people are independent but still supported and guided. These flats have a shared kitchen, toilet and shower room, each person has their own bedroom. The second stage is having their own bedsit (the Foyer has five) - a resident will often move into one of these when they are hoping to move on to their own home and away from the Foyer. These are self-contained and give residents a chance to show they can manage day to day living on their own.

+ROOLH Skills learnt Managing my money, and cooking proper meals! Right now At college. Just got Distinctions in â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Hair and Beautyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, specialising in film and media The future Would love to be a counsellor and help others who have been in my situation



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However the Foyer is not a hostel; accommodation alone is not an option. All residents are expected to actively engage in the community and to work with their support officer to create an individual support plan, regularly review it and set new goals.


Residents are also expected to work towards gaining employment. They are encouraged to participate in training and education programmes that are available to them, and these are often run at the adjacent XCentre; a community enterprise also run by Guinness. The Foyer and XCentre work in partnership to provide a safe space and facilities including a training kitchen, IT suite, and media centre. Living at the Foyer, young people also learn things such as money management and help with benefits, life skills including cooking and shopping on a budget, and looking after their health and wellbeing. There is also access to drug and alcohol services and counselling.

.XUWLV Skills learnt After living here for a year, I have learnt to get along with others and have learnt new skills, such as cooking and getting help with my benefits Right now Kurtis has his Level 1 in hairdressing from college and is looking into getting an apprenticeship in a barbers. Kurtis often cuts the hair of his friends and his flatmates The future Wants to be a super amazing barber! To be the best!

$ELÂ&#x20AC;VVWRU\ Abi was referred fro m the YES Centre and found the experie nce pretty nerve-wracking at fir st as she had come straigh t from home. Abi is 17 and could no longer live with her family so went to the Youth Enquiry Se rvice for help. They supported her move into the Fo yer, an d after a few da ys of getting used to independent livin g and sh aring a flat with another yo ung person, she settl ed in. Now, three months do wn the line she has a job in a local bridal shop and is go ing on to do her seco nd year at college. She sh ares with Hollie who is also 17 and th eyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve recently painted and decora ted the kitchen in th eir flat, and tell me th at they often have family round fo r tea. Hollie sa ys th at in the eight mon ths she has been liv ing there she has learnt how to m anage her money; â&#x20AC;&#x153;A t home I would have spent it all on clothes! Now I have responsibilities, and realise I have to spend it on things I need.â&#x20AC;?

'DQÂ&#x20AC;VVWRU\ Dan, 18 has been liv ing at the Fo yer for just over a year. He was taken into ca re aged 14 and lived in Rifford Road Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Home before going into su pported lodgings. When he moved into his self-contained fla t at the Fo yer he felt like this was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;the next stageâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and he has been able to progress with living independently , learning how to cook, do his wash ing and manage his money. When he first moved in however he felt sc ared, but he points out th at heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lucky to be living on the Quay; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on the river, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy to meet up with frien ds and close to town. The viewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no t too bad either!â&#x20AC;? Now, with the encour agement of his supp ort officer and social worker he feels confident about mov ing forward and would love to ge t a career in mecha nics.

Visit www.guinnesscareandsupport.org.uk for more information or call 01392 499222 About us | DXWXPQ 


by Ben Bachle

Amber We wanted to make sure this issue was packed full of accommodation goodness and show you the places that help you get where you want to go, and help you pick up the pieces when things aren’t going so well. One such place is Amber, a residential project at Ashley Court, Chawleigh. We caught up with a director of Amber, Sue Condie and had a good chat with her… Tell us about the Amber Foundation

How does a someone become a resident?

Amber has been going since 1995. It’s a project about helping young adults aged 17-30 years to be motivated, to become confident and to regain their self-esteem, with the ultimate goal of helping them to find, and keep, work and accommodation. It’s about helping them overcome problems they’ve had in the past.

We have a recruitment officer who works at the YES Centres in Exeter, Ivybridge, Newton Abbott, Barnstaple and Tavistock. He has a network and will contact a list of organisations to find out who needs a place. When someone is referred, the recruitment officer meets them and makes sure that Amber is right for them. Amber only works if the person has decided that want to make a change in their lives.

Have most of your residents had accommodation problems or placement breakdowns? A lot have come through the care system or have family problems. Some just got in with the wrong crowd and that spiralled into drug and alcohol problems and crime, and throu some come through the law system.

What is a normal day like? People get up at 7.30am and get breakfast over by 8.15am. Residents are responsible for all cooking and cleaning in the building and work in team. Each team takes it in turn to cook and clean, and has their own area of maintenance and work. There is a house meeting at 9.30am with staff and residents. After this they meet in their team room for various tasks. Lunch is at 1pm and there is more work or activities in the afternoon. There is an evening meal at 6pm. There are activities in the evening if residents wish to participate. Weekends are free time. Amber is not a prison, but we know w that life with a job means you have to have a utine structure to your days, and the routine ope helps residents adjust to this. We hope ey can that when a resident moves on they ave be responsible for the tasks they have to do in their working day.



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What does it cost – is it something to do with benefits? Yes, a resident’s benefit money goes to Amber. A portion of that pays a small rent so that they learn that once leaving Amber they will have to pay their way. The rest is saved for them. Do people living here get training in how to manage a tenancy?

The e are residents her and IY D g in learn craft skills to attic renovate an v ing li a to space in env ironment Beau – British Kick Boxing Champion (former Amber resident)

We run practical housing units (PHUs) that cover budgeting, healthy eating and paying bills. Residents get accredited and get certificates when they pass. These can become a good reference for a future landlord. What does Amber mean to young adults going through problems? Amber wants to show young adults that society has not given up on them and that they are valued. The programme is solutionfocused, not dwelling on a person’s past but on their future. Residents are asked what is their ultimate dream, what would they love to be. I’m not talking about a car or a house because those things will come when they reach their goal, but the journey to get there. It is important to look forward and work on how you can attain your dreams.

'DQ Dan, an Amber resident, showed us around the buildings where we met residents and saw what they were doing. Dan was really happy to be at Amber. He had been there before, and had come back when he’d fallen on hard times again. He e believed being there would help him to get somewhere in life. He said it was hard at times to adjust to doing work, and doing other things for himself, but he felt he was wa learning things that would help him in the w outside world. ou

Dan shows Ben arou nd

It was great spending time with Dan and all the great people at Amber. You can find out more information by: • calling 01769 581011 • emailling recruitment@amberweb.org • visiting www.amberweb.org

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The

Hennis Project What is the Hennis Project? The Hennis Project in Exeter has 16 selfcontained one bedroom flats. The Hennis Project is called â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;access accommodationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. This means it provides a safe place to live for vulnerable young people aged 16-21. There are good communal facilities with a residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; lounge, a kitchen-cafĂŠ and laundry facilities. The Project has its own youth club once a week in the community centre below, where residents can chill out with friends; use the internet and play table tennis, darts or table football. Hennis also provides a housing-related support service to: â&#x20AC;˘ help young people manage their tenancy â&#x20AC;˘ provide budgeting help and information â&#x20AC;˘ help young people gain independent living skills â&#x20AC;˘ offer advice and guidance about education, employment or training.

What does the Project do? The Project works with young people on a jointly agreed plan to meet their level of need. Residents attend at a weekly support meeting, which is an opportunity to explore any issues and concerns, and plan for the future, particularly how they will move on to less supported accommodation through the Pathway Plan.



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Above: Support workers Sharron (left) and Kate Copley (right)

At Hennis young people are involved in making decisions and choices about their own lives; giving them more responsibility for making things work.

Who is the Hennis Project for? Hennis is for young people who have a high level of support needs and are at risk of being homeless. New residents need to be referred by someone from the housing department of Exeter City Council. Talk to your support worker or social worker.


0\YLVLWWR+HQQLV %\6RSK\0LOHV Tucked away behind St. Sidwell’s Centre in Exeter you find an unassuming door with a round logo. You’d be mistaken for thinking it’s the back door to the centre, but upstairs all is revealed! The Project is home to 16 young people aged 16 to 21 who have a high level of support need, ranging from help finding employment through to learning how to cook and budget. Each person has a self-contained flat with a small kitchen and shower room. They have use of the communal kitchen and are encouraged to cook for each other. There is also a communal lounge with facilities including pool, Wii and darts. There is round the clock support from staff who are vibrant and engaging. You feel that they really care about the people staying there; often going beyond the call of duty to support their needs. Sharron G, a support worker, says it’s important to be on a level with the young people and have a laugh; “Sometimes life can be really tough for those coming in, so it’s refreshing to feel you’ve got someone on side. Although there are professional boundaries and young people are expected to keep to the rules.” Hennis has six support workers, a project support officer and a manager. With up to 18 people staying at one time, the workers have just 2 or 3 young people and can give a more dedicated approach. Each week there are support meetings where residents come together to discuss things that are going on. They also work one-to-one with support workers on every day tasks such as filling out forms, or learning to cook.

Hennis Project

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Residents can have visitors and encouraging family relationships is key. Sharron says; “We often discuss family issues in meetings, and if there are problems we think of ways to deal with them. Our young people come first and we never let them be compromised.” When talking with some young people on my visit, they were keen to tell me that, although it can be hard living with other people, they do feel safe. They feel that someone cares, and that they have aspirations and goals for a future they might not have previously thought they could achieve. Matt, who is 18, says that in the year he’s been living there, he has learnt so much; “I’ve learnt how to live on my own and provide for myself. They’ve given me help to think about what I have to do, to keep tidy, how to look after money, to budget for food, toiletries and having enough money to do social things. I learnt how to cook at home from my Mum and like to show my friends here what I can make!”

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Devon Young g People’s Accommodation Service by Kelly Walker, Support Worker for DYPAS

%HWK€V VWRU\ How would you describe the DYPAS service? People that help you with your placement, independent living skills and a support worker to talk with if you need it.

Q A

How has your support worker met your needs? By listening to what I would like and by trying to make it happen and generally by just listening to me and how I feel.

Q A

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What do you do together? We go to appointments together, go for a coffee or sometimes just a drive. What is the most important skill for a support worker? Being able to listen to the young person without judging them based on the situation they might be in or the decisions that they make!

Q A



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What we do DYPAS carers provide safe and healthy placements for young people aged 16 and older who need to develop independent living skills so that they can work towards a place of their own. DYPAS gives them time to learn life skills and how to become a responsible and productive adult. We are aware that each young person is individual, and that young people looked after by us need different levels of care and support. We recognise that it’s a difficult time in a young person’s life, whether they are coming into care for the first time or just changing placements. We encourage people to try new things and allow them to believe in themselves. We are a family of adults where we can all grow – us included!


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What is your experience of DYPAS? I have lived in two DYPAS placements since 16. I have learnt how to budget better and have improved my independent living skills. I feel that I have grown up since being in these placements.

How we support Every placement has a support worker, who works with each young person and carer. They help with problem-solving, communication and guidance. They also offer support in meetings with other agencies and professionals like social workers, the Youth Offending Team (YOT), Children and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the police and education. The amount of support is flexible and depends on the young person’s care plan. There are regular visits and phone calls from the support worker, giving the opportunity for the young person and their carers to talk through issues, making sure that support is consistent and that development towards independence is on track.

Q A

What have your carers been like? I feel lucky to have had the carers that I’ve had, they have taught me a lot of skills. They are funny at times, but realistic - we have fun!

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Has DYPAS supported you? Yes - I have felt secure in my placement yet free. There is always someone to contact.

Q A

Do you feel ready to move on to independent living? No, I want to stay longer to learn more budgeting skills and practice before I move on fully. I have learnt budgeting, cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping and how to play X Box ha ha!

Q A Find out more Speak to your social worker about whether DYPAS could be right for you

How would you describe the service? Well… you sort of live on your own, but with the support and network to help you if you need it. There are some rules but nothing to worry about, it’s all good. About us | DXWXPQ 


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Our house

by Teoni and Kaylin

This residential care foster home is good and caring. It is really important to have homes such as this one especially for young people who are looked after. We get pocket money, cash, valuables and star money to buy treats from. We can stay here until we are 18 years old. K’s bedroom I love my room because I have enough space for my own. Sometimes I have a messy room and it is great because I feel like I am on holiday. We can come here when we feel upset or angry and we will be able to calm down; also I like my bed and I can sleep forever if I could. And we can put up our own posters and we will have enough privacy. No one is allowed to enter our rooms without permission. That’s why we need to be respected.

The lounge We have photos in our lounge which help us remember things we have done, good memories and sometimes bad. There is enough space for us and we have our own comfy seats. Sometimes when our housemate Chloe comes down to spend time with us, we don’t have enough seats. We also like our big TV and we can sit wherever we want. Sometimes it can be hard to share the TV because we have to agree on what to watch. It can be a challenge living with other people as we argue over where we are going to sit.



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The kitchen I like the kitchen because it has food and enough space to cook. We shop every Friday, we get to help write the list and say what we want. We have to cook once a week, spaghetti bolognaise,


Tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bedroom My room is cosy. I love my bed because I like sleeping. I really like having posters on my wall, it makes it my room.

The office We keep our private stuff in our own drawers. Our money is kept in a safe. You can ask your carer for a chat if something is bothering you. They will be delighted to hear this but they will be serious. They will suggest many things that can help you. If nothing works then they will ask your social worker for help, you can trust your carers.

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jacket potatoes, I have cooked South African foods. We do some baking. I like that we can use the kitchen to learn to cook, it is a good skill for when I am older.

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The Atkinson

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by Rebecca Tanti, Residential Support Worker What is The Atkinson? 7KH$WNLQVRQLVDVHFXUHFKLOGUHQ·VKRPHIRUXSWR\RXQJSHRSOHDJHG $VHFXUHFKLOGUHQ·VKRPHLVRQHWKDW\RXFDQ·WOHDYHZKHQ\RXZDQW WR<RXQJSHRSOHFRPHKHUHEHFDXVHWKHFRXUWRUVRFLDOFDUHVHUYLFHVKDYH GHFLGHGWKDWLWLVWKHVDIHVWSODFHIRUWKHP7KLVPD\EHEHFDXVHWKH\RXQJ SHUVRQLVYXOQHUDEOHRUWKH\PD\EHDULVNWRWKHPVHOYHVRURWKHUV

What does The Atkinson do?

What happens at The Atkinson?

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Living at The Atkinson ,KDYHOLYHGDW7KH$WNLQVRQIRUVHYHQPRQWKV ,WLVOLNHRQHELJIDPLO\WKHUHDUHSHRSOHWKDW DQQR\\RXDQGWKHUHDUHNLGVWKDWDUHQLFH 7KHUHDUHVWDIIWKDW\RXOLNHDQGVWDII\RXGRQ·W OLNH6RPHGD\V,OLNHLWDQGVRPHGD\V,ZDQWWR JHWRXW

Here the young people are working with artist James Bond, who runs Carving Community, a creative social enterprise that enables young people to learn skills and manage risk.

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The YES The YES in Exeter

Gil @ The YES

What is the YES?

Who does the YES help?

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Abi because I was living with my bo yfriend I was I was arguing with my parents. parents not able to sta y there and my to find decided it was better for me ted the somewhere else to live. I contac tails on council and the y passed my de to the YES. They I found the YES really helpful. using; didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just give me help on ho otions the y gave me help for my em a and mone y. The staff gave me eone som by ch ance to get listened to and who was genuinely interested there nt we I wanted to help me. When I felt safe and comfortable. wh at The YES has helped me to see am living opportunities are out there. I d getting in supported housing now an nk the on better with my family. I thi YES has helped with all of this. $EL

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About us | DXWXPQ

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Bradley I h ave used the YES quite a few times, but the most re cent time was because I was homeless . The YES supp orted me and helped me get tempora ry accommodatio n. I suffer with depression and the YES also he lped with this. I feel welcomed and comfortab le when I come into the YES. The worker s h ave helped by just being there wh e n I need them. For some one of my a ge there are not many p laces to go so to h ave the YES h as be en really helpfu l. I would h ave m essed up a lot more if it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t for the Y ES. I h ave alwa ys h ad the YES centre and it h as alwa ys been there for me. %UDGOH\



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The SLS

... ...is based at the YES Centre www.youngdevon.org What is the SLS? 7KH6XSSRUWHG/LYLQJ6HUYLFH 6/6 VXSSRUWV\RXQJ SHRSOHWROLYHLQGHSHQGHQWO\7KHUHDUHDQXPEHU RIKRVWKRXVHKROGVDURXQG'HYRQRIIHULQJDVSDUH EHGURRPZLWKVXSSRUW+RVWVKDYHEHHQDVVHVVHG WRPDNHVXUHWKH\FDQVXSSRUW\RXQJSHRSOHWKH\ KDYHJLYHQUHIHUHQFHVDQGEHHQSROLFHFKHFNHG DQGDSSURYHGE\\RXQJSHRSOHDQGSURIHVVLRQDOV <RXZLOOEHJLYHQWKHRSSRUWXQLW\WRPHHWDQGJHW WRNQRZKRVWVEHIRUHPDNLQJDGHFLVLRQDERXW PRYLQJLQ

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Barnstaple Exeter Ivybridge Newton Abbot Tavistock

01271 377106 Youth House, 6 Market Street, Barnstaple EX31 1BX 01392 331666 39 George Street , Exeter EX1 1DA 01752 698402 10 Erme Road, Ivybridge PL21 0AB 01392 381992 11 Queen Street , Newton Abbot TQ12 2AQ 01822 612555 Pixon Lane, Tav istock PL19 8DH About us | DXWXPQ 


Growing up in care by Sophy Miles Q [ [ ] M

This article gives a personal explanation of two peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experiences of living in foster care.

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About us | DXWXPQ 


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Find us at the lounge! Our website has a private area for children and young people in care and young people leaving care in Devon. All you need is a password to get access to: online editions of About Us, the leaving care magazine, contact details for social workers and key workers, information on participation and how you can get involved the Have Your Say comment boards, a chance for you to tell us what you think about the latest hot topics! Visit www.the-lounge.org.uk or scan the QR code with your phone to go to the website! The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of Devon County Council. This magazine is produced by Devon Leaving Care Service, editing and design by DCC Corporate Communications 01392 383698

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