On Monday 17 May 2021, Leicestershire Cares was invited to share its findings and reflections from it’s Taking Hold of Our Heritage project atBECOME: All-Party Parliamentary Group for Looked After Children and Care Leavers (APPG) East of England and East Midlands evidence session chaired by Daisy Cooper MP.
Taking Hold of Our Heritage explored themes around identity, heritage, place and community, which tied into the key questions of the Inquiry. Casey, a care experienced young person and Jacob Brown from Leicestershire Cares presented at the Inquiry.
What the project told us about the experiences and memories of the leaving care community in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
What are the challenges and opportunities for young care-experienced people to feel connected to the communities which matter to them?
- The disconnection that COVID created for care experience people from their care experienced peers, distanced them from their care experienced identity. Since lockdown and the lack of opportunities to meet face to face with other care experienced young people, has meant that young people have got on with their lives and blended back into ‘normal’ society – college, work, staying at home. Only as we come out of lockdown and more face to face care experienced young people groups start back up again, are they reconnecting, speaking, and thinking about their identity as a care experienced young person again.
- 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 exisit digitally. The care experienced community transcends geographical locations. It is global.
- 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.
- Sharing your experiences with other care experienced young people – care experienced young people have a shorthand when talking. You don’t need to explain everything as people already know the vernacular used and the ‘lingo’. Hearing that you are not alone and others have experienced similar things. These groups allow you the opportunities to make new connection with people
What happens next?
At the end of the APPG process, they will have a great collection of insights, case studies and recommendations on strengthening care and community from everyone who’s contributed, to share with the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and to inform government, local authorities and others. To keep up to date with this and other APPG activity, please visit the APPG webpage and subscribe to the mailing list.
Our work with care experienced young people
- Find out about the work we do with care experienced young people: mental wellbeing, employment and training, campaigning for Care Leavers rights, building social connection.
- Sign our Promise to Care
- Hear the voices of care experienced young people in our Podcasts
- Taking Hold of Our Heritage project. Get a digital download of the book
- Become a mentor to a care experienced young person
For more information about our work with care experienced young people, please contactJacob Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org