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How we use the voices of care experienced young people to make change

20 Apr 2021

We use a model of participation and co-production with our care experienced young people to understand the issues affecting them, how and who they want to influence

Combining new learning with lived experience. The blueprint to producing impactful support for looked after children being bullied at school for being in care

Leicestershire Cares has been working with care experienced young people on our VRN project, Free From Violence. The project has used a youth lead co-production approach to decided what direction the project has taken. The care experienced young people (ceyp) found common ground in their experiences of violence at school due to being a looked after child.

In the ceyp’s research into this topic, they discovered Leicestershire County Council’s Anti Bullying Strategy Team’s website and found that their information was out of date for looked after children. We approached the Anti Bullying Strategy Team to set up a knowledge sharing workshops where the ceyp could learn more about school anti bullying protocols and the strategy team could hear the ceyp thoughts.

As a result of the workshop the plan is now to produce new content for the council’s Beyond Bullying website focusing on children in care and further down the line, hopefully to provide training to schools designated safeguarding leads.

Read more about how we are combing new learning with lived experience to support looked after children in schools

Fusing knowledge: businesses and care leavers co-design care experienced mentoring programme

Leicestershire Cares’ Esmee Fairbairn funded Voices project has been working with care experienced young people and the organisation’s business members and partners, to design a new mentoring programme for young people leaving care.

The steering group made up from Thermo Fisher, Leicester City Council, Leicester City Football Club’s Leicester in the Community, Everards, Samworth Brothers and care experienced young people have been working together to create a mentoring programme that aims to improve the lives of care experienced young people by supporting them to find solutions to the barriers that are impacting on their life chances.

The mentors will act as a ‘critical friend’ who is able to guide and support young people through one to one sessions, to enable them to take responsibility for areas of professional and personal growth. The mentor will be there to create a supportive.

Interested in being a mentor?

Taking Hold of Our Heritage: The impact so far

In February, we launched our Taking Hold of Our Heritage book. A co-authored and co-produced book by care experienced young people investigating the complex nature identity, heritage place and community for care experienced people.

Since then, the book has found itself being read in all corners of the world, from Adelaide, via New York to Zimbabwe, and some 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 young people have been empowered by the feedback their book has received. Form foster parents, local councillors, heads of NGOs, safeguarding leads and the wider care experienced community.

Read more about the impact our book has had in the care experienced world

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

Leicestershire Cares presents at ministerial roundtable

Leicestershire Cares was shared its practice at a virtual ministerial roundtable with Children and Families Minister, Vicky Ford MP.

Organised by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Catch22, the roundtable aimed to offer practical solutions and experience from the voluntary sector to address the serious challenges facing care leavers’ levels of unemployment arising from the Covid19 pandemic.

Leicestershire Cares shared our experience of working with care experienced young people to identify and address their barriers to meaningful and sustainable employment.

Read more about what we presented at the ministerial roundtable

The care review: All you need is love and a washing machine!

In February the Independent Care Reivew for England was launched, and over the past few years we have published a number of brief articles that we feel might be useful to those overseeing the review.

"In essence we believe that the care system has to be creative and agile, think outside top down boxes, seek to work in partnership with community and business and empower care experienced people, young and old to drive the agenda".

Kieran Breen, CEO

Read our articles about care experienced issues

Our work with care experienced young people

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