Care Leavers Week is taking place between Monday 22 and Friday 26 October and Hull City Council is using this week to highlight its support to the city’s care leavers.
As a responsible corporate parent, the council is providing people aged between 16 and 25 a range of work experience, training and employment opportunities and is urging organisations and businesses to do the same.
The council’s commitment to help support care leavers has been praised by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi MP following a visit to Hull by Mark Riddell, National Leaving Care Implementation Adviser. In a letter to Matt Jukes, Chief Executive, Mr Zahawi MP acknowledged the ‘positive way in which the council has responded’. Both have positively highlighted:
• the citywide approach to engaging businesses with a focus on increasing work experience
• training and employment opportunities available to care leavers
• the council’s success in building a wider sense of ownership around corporate parenting principles (18 employees have been trained and committed to being professional mentors for Hull’s Care leavers).
Mark Jones MBE, Director Lead for Care Leavers, said: “Our care leavers are a great pool of talent for the city and I am privileged to hold the role of director lead for them at the council. Together we have achieved some great progress which has been recognised nationally and I look forward to working with our young people to achieve really great things for Hull’s and their individual futures.”
In Hull, there are approximately 230 care leavers aged over 18. There are 25 care leavers who are either employed by Hull City Council or other partners, taking part in work trials, with interviews pending or in training or work experience. Support is also available to care leavers to access further education including college and university courses. During September 2018, compared with previous years, Hull had its highest number of care leavers starting university.
To coincide with Care Leavers Week, care leavers along with the council’s care leavers Personal Advisor, Phil Morris are attending the launch of the Care Leaver Covenant in Birmingham on Friday 26 October. The Care Leaver covenant will support the city’s work, encouraging local businesses and partners to think about the ways in which they can support and offer opportunities to the city’s care leavers.
Phil Morris, Personal Advisor at Hull City Council, said: “This is a really exciting time for our young people. We have started to develop support around a range of areas from employment and apprenticeships to better supported accommodation so that young people can a make a success of their lives and realise their potential. The Covenant will hopefully build on the things we have been doing within the council and I would encourage local businesses to come forward and support what we are doing in any way they can.”
Councillor Peter Clark, Portfolio Holder for Learning, Skills and Safeguarding Children, said: “Hull’s care leavers are very much ‘our children’ and it is important we help improve their lives by providing support as they transition into adulthood and independent living.
“As a corporate parent, we have a responsibility to ensure that despite the difficulties many will have faced earlier in their lives, each young person is given opportunities that other young people will experience as well as increasing their confidence.
“We very much want to make a real difference to the lives of care leavers and that’s why we are providing them with the chance to work and learn, improving their skills and life opportunities.”
Chelsea, aged 18 a care leaver from Hull and now a Local Offer apprentice, said: “It’s exciting to be given an opportunity to use my own experiences to help and support other young people. I am already building relationships with those who attend our drop-in sessions, some of who have been quite isolated. It is great to see people accessing support, making friends and feeling that they have somewhere to go and be listened to.”
Georgie, aged 19 a care leaver from Hull and now a Care Leaver Champion, said: “I feel really grateful for being able to represent young people’s views in Hull which helps us to put things in place and make positive changes. We’re aiming to talk to more young people and get them more involved in expressing their views which will influence the Hull Local Offer for Care Leavers. I feel that I have had a relatively positive experience of care, but some young people have a very different experience. I am excited about being able to make a real difference for those who might be having a tough time, need a bit of extra support or the just right opportunity to shine.”
Businesses and organisations interested in supporting the city’s young care leavers can call 01482 300 300 for more information.
Drop-in sessions for care leavers take place every Monday between 12.30 and 3.30pm at Kingston Youth Centre, Beverley Road.