Sunday, 19 May 2024
Sunday, 19 May 2024

Launch of £3.6million programme for care leavers

A new national programme of support for young care experienced adults has been launched throughout England.

Managed by UK Community Foundations, the Care Leavers Programme has a primary focus on improving the life chances of care leavers through decentralised funding into regions around the country. The £3.6 million match-fund scheme will run over three years and is being funded by the Local Authorities’ Mutual Investment Trust (LAMIT), a shareholder of the UK’s biggest charities asset manager, CCLA.

There were 46,000 care leavers between 17 and 21 years old in England alone in 2022. Every year, young people leaving the care system immediately meet a range of challenges that their peers might not experience. Deficiencies in transitional and practical support mean that care leavers are often less likely to get the help they need to make a fresh start as young adults. Gaps in support have been found when it comes to relationships and mentoring, education, employment and mental health.

Seventeen community foundations, announced at the launch event, are working closely with their respective local authorities to fund a range of individual care leavers and charitable organisations that help care leavers navigate their way through adulthood.

The fund will provide practical and holistic support to care leavers in the first instance. It will also enable community foundations to identify funding gaps in each region and collaborate with local organisations and authorities to capitalise on their skills and knowledge, and to facilitate a long-lasting, coherent plan of impact for care leavers that can be built on over time.

Types of support include giving guidance for care leavers experiencing homelessness in the West Midlands, providing positive practical experiences for young care leavers in Cambridgeshire, offering one-to-one personal and professional work-based mentoring in Cumbria, helping parent care leavers and migrant care leavers in Essex, direct financial support for individual care leavers to help with education, training or employment in Surrey, and more.

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE, Deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool and Chair of LAMIT, said:

“We are delighted with the response from local community foundations and their partner local authorities to this funding to provide good experiences and support to young people who too often have had too many bad experiences.

“Not only will we help a good number of young people with the £1.2 million a year fund that we have created with UK Community Foundations, but we will also be taking the opportunity to try and engage new partners at both a national level, through events like our launch and through a series of local conferences, to bring together the key players in supporting care leavers but also commercial companies and partners within the justice and health systems. The first of these will take place in Liverpool in September 2024.

“Our care system is creaking at the seams, despite the best endeavours of dedicated professionals such as social workers and probation officers. We need to find innovative approaches for all young people who have left care, in which society can wrap its arm around them in the same way that we as parents and grandparents wrap our arms around the young people in our own family.”

Rosemary Macdonald BEM, Chief Executive at UK Community Foundations, said:

“Inequalities for care leavers differ from region to region, and it is key that we harness the knowledge of local organisations to not just fund fantastic projects for young people leaving the care system, but to nurture those relationships and keep the momentum going to make real change happen.

“We hope to use this programme as a way of uniting communities and authorities, to explore local solutions to local issues and use the learning to influence wider support for care leavers.”

Cllr Shaun Davies, Chair of the Local Government Association, said:

“Councils support thousands of young people who become care leavers every year whether that is finding a home to live in or help into work.

“Alongside our communities, the LGA is delighted to be able to support this fantastic new initiative which can help to transform care leavers’ lives as they make the transition into adulthood.”

For more information, please visit the UKCF website.

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