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National Care Leavers Week 2021 #NCLW2021

1 Nov 2021

Leicestershire Cares recognises the importance to support care experienced young people in finding stability in their lives, and we also acknowledge and celebrate their successes in life big and small.

National Care Leavers Week 2021 (#NCLW2021) gave us a platform to bring celebration, campaigning, conversations, learning and showcasing together to highlight the work we do day in day out.

Launching our Promise to Care Toolkit

Leicestershire Cares launched it’s Promise to Care Toolkit. The toolkit is coproduced with care experienced young people, and is targeted at businesses, local authorities and support organisations, to give an insight into the issues facing care experienced young people looking for work. It gives ideas on how to care experienced young people before and during the recruitment process, and when they are in employment.

Get our Toolkit here: Promise to Care Toolkit

Hear the voices of care experienced young people

This podcast will give an insight into the issues facing care experienced young people looking for work. It will give ideas on how to support them before and during the recruitment process, and when they are in employment.

ITV News visits Leicestershire Cares’ Leaving Care project

During National Care Leavers Week 2021, ITV Central visited Leicestershire Cares to speak to our care experienced young people about the support they received when they turned 18.

The news package also highlighted the help our business members give to a number of care experienced young people through our Care Leaver Business Volunteer Mentoring programme. See the news report here

Expressing themselves through graffiti with Pedestrian

Our care experienced young people started a 3 week project with Pedestrian to learn about the culture and history of graffiti, as well develop their throw up skills. The idea is that the young people will create a graffiti mural for our rather dull and corporate Warehouse wall.

Social Media: Celebrating our work

All though the week we looked back on 3 years of work produced thanks to the Esmee Fairbairn Leaving Care Funding Stream.

Here's the text from our Twitter threads.

Monday, 25 October 2021

It’s Care Leavers Week and to celebrate the amazing care experienced young people we work with here at Leicestershire Cares, we are going to look back at our 3 years of Esmee funding and the sensational work our young people have created. Today we will look back at our Taking Hold of Our Heritage project. Here’s a thread… # NCLW21 #NCLW2021

Taking Hold of Our Heritage was a project lead by our ceyp investigating their identity and heritage, as well as telling the stories about their lives that they wanted telling. Hear our yp read extracts from book and interviews that formed a number of the stories.

Our Taking Hold of Our Heritage book has found itself being read in all corners of the world, from Adelaide, via New York to Zimbabwe. Influential people have read our young people’s words, including the Home Secretary, Head of Campaigns & Advocacy UNICEF and the Chair of the Independent Care Review for England. The feedback the yp have received has been empowering!

We learnt a lot through delivering our Taking Hold of Our Heritage project. What our project told us about the experiences and memories of the leaving care community in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are:

    1. Care experienced young people often have no pictures, items or trinkets that tie them back to their birth family. For example, some care experienced young people have not seen photos of them as a baby or a youngster. It can make you question your existence and place in the world.
    2. There are positive people and moments in care experienced young people’s lives, and we should hold on to those, remember them, celebrate and make them your heritage.
    3. It is possible to make your own heritage and forge your own identity. Memory is fluid and you can change it or come to terms with it and let it go.
    4. The disconnection that COVID created for ceyp from their care experienced peers, distanced them from their care experienced identity. Lack of face to face with other ceyp care meant that they blended into ‘normal’ society. Once lockdown was over and they could reconnect did they start thinking about their identity as a care experienced young person.
    5. Importance for a safe space to talk. Online communities have help care experienced young people stay connected and feel part of a community that can support them. Communities can exist digitally. The care experienced community transcends geographical locations. It is global.
    6. A place where conversations are encouraged, listened to, witnessed and acknowledge. It is still vital to have face to face care experienced only groups. Leicestershire Cares’ Chill and Chat group is very important for care leaver community.
    7. The importance of sharing your experiences with other care experienced young people – ceyp have a shorthand when talking. You don’t need to explain everything as people already know the vernacular used and the ‘lingo’.

Taking Hold of Our Heritage. Get a digital download of the book

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

It’s Care Leavers Week and to celebrate the amazing care experienced young people we work with here at Leicestershire Cares, we are going to look back at our 3 years of Esmee funding and the sensational work our young people have created. Today we will look back at our Promise to Care #NCLW202

Today we are launching our Promise to Care Toolkit. Coproduced for businesses, local authorities and support organisations to get an understanding of the issues facing care experienced young people looking for work. Ideas, solutions and more to support CEYP into employment. Get it here:

Over 110 local businesses have supported our #CEYP over the last 3 years through our Promise to Care. These businesses and organisations have provided the support and opportunities care experienced young people need to progress in education, employment and their wider lives.

Mentoring is one way our business members are supporting our #ceyp. Guiding them with life advice, insight into the working world, supporting with uni applications and building self esteem, these Mentors are making a real differences in ceyp lives.

World of work tours are a great way for our #CEYP to learn about different industries and consider roles they wouldn`t have before. Now lockdown is lifting we are looking for more businesses to bring our yp to so they can get a glimpse of work environments and find out about your industry.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

For #NCLW2021 we are celebrating the amazing connection and peer support our care experienced young people give to each other and the wider community thanks to our 3 years of Esmee funding.

Casey: “I always find that when you are in a group with CEYP you let down the wall that is around you. When I meet new people that I’m not used to, I might say ‘oh I did this with my parents’ instead of foster carer because I don’t want to drop the bomb that I was looked after.”

Amber: “We’ve all been in that scared box. We all understand the pain of being away from our parents. We all have a natural supportive connection. Our weekly Chill & Chat session make us release that we are not alone, and we have peer support. Being care experienced makes you so much more mature to others your same age. Casey: I think that we are all some kind of family.”

“You gave me the opportunity to create memories taken for granted by many others - normally family type of trips we miss out on. I actually have something to look back on for what is one of the most unsettled/lonely parts of a care experienced young person’s life.”

The confidence I have gained cooking for myself is incredible. I never thought I would be able to make tasty dishes for under £10 and really enjoy them too! I have saved so much money.

Being able to see people’s faces and have a face-to-face conversations feels so natural, but has been something that has been so hard to find over these last 5 months. It’s opportunities like this that Leicestershire Cares offer that are so positive for me holistically.

My confidence has increased and I feel safer talking about my real life as a care experienced person. Leicestershire Cares gave me a safe space to recognise its okay to embrace that part of myself.

The young people also identified the power of ‘giving back’ and connecting with their local community, has on their self-esteem and mental wellbeing. We took a group to Leicester market to help out with Help the Homeless Leicester and UK

Thursday, 27 October 2021

Promoting #CEYP voices plays a key role in our Leaving Care work. For #NCLW2021 today we are celebrating the honesty, candor and bravey of putting their voice out there to raise awareness of the issues facing them.

During lockdown we worked with our #ceyp to produce a series of podcasts. It was a chance for two of our yp to stay in touch and explore their lived experience through documenting their conversations. It all started with Fostering A New Approach Episode 1: Care Leavers and COVID-19

In their second podcast they asked the questions What makes a good support worker for care experienced young people? Trust, an attentive ear, patience, consistency and love, in a complex and often crowded landscape of care experienced young people.

In their podcast The Exit Strategy for Care Leavers @ and @ explore what the ‘new normal’ will look like for care experienced young people after the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Housing and Accommodation for #CEYP was looked at in the next podcast. This time they were joined by Tanisa, a young single mother who accesses our Making Moves project. Hearing her story of living in a Mother and Baby unit.

Fostering a New Approach also explored the issues that lead the government to conduct a consultation into unregulated accommodation for children in care and care leavers. When are you really mature enough to only receive support and not care? Pros and Cons? The risks of moving out of your area? Taster Flats? We just want to feel safe.

Our podcast also looked Care Experienced Young People and the Criminal Justice System with @CJJFitzpatrick and @CareCustody. Less than 1% of the population have been in the care system, yet about 50% of children in custody have been in care.

Going to University as a #ceyp was explored with @KimEmenike. It can be hard, but it can also be rewarding, inspiring and life changing. So how can care experienced young people be better supported to make a success in higher education?

Our work with care experienced young people

For more information about our work with care experienced young people, please contact Jacob Brown:

With thanks to Esmee Fairbairn for their support for our Care Experienced Young People's Programme.