Care Leavers Week 2014

I had a great opportunity alongside other Voices from Care members to attend and take apart in an event for Care Leaves Week 2014. I really enjoyed and learnt lots on the day so firstly I would like to explain to you what Care Leavers Week is about.  In my view Care Leavers Week gives me and everyone else the opportunity to highlight the difficulties faced by young people who have been looked after across the UK. There are lots of different topics covered over the years and this year’s topic was focused around “Belonging “.

 Cascade

This year, Voices held a joint event with Cascade and for those of you that don’t know what Cascade and Cascade Voices is, to put it very simply it is a collaboration between Voices from Careand CASCADE in Cardiff University to give young people the chance to have their say on the design and delivery of research relating to looked after children and care leavers.

 The Care Leavers Week event was held on the 24th of October at Cardiff University. There where a number of speakers on the day from all different backgrounds, from volunteers, like myself to professionals from the University of Exeter, the Care Council for Wales, The Buddies from Conwy and young people from Blueprint Forum’s corporate parenting project.

 ‘Belonging’

I opened the event with a very simple welcome and thank you but I did give myself a little extra challenge and did it in Welsh so thank you to the internet and people in from Voices for helping to translate it for me. I was really nervous but it did help that there was such a lovely atmosphere at the event.

Then after me, another Voices volunteer called Sian took over and introduced all the speakers and thanked them, this made everyone a little bit more relaxed about getting up to do there speeches.

 First to speak was Sarah Morgan Trimmer, From Cardiff University, who spoke about her research she had been involved in on healthy lifestyles, focusing on young people and care leavers aged from 17 up until 20. There was a quote from the study that I think many young people can relate to, “Everything effects everything” which really highlights the fact that there are close links between issues that can effect a young person emotionally; be that their care experience, mental health,  and healthy lifestyles.

 Next to talk was the young volunteers from Voices from Care and the Blueprint forum. The blueprint is a forum specifically for looked after young people and care leavers aged 14 to 25 living in RCT. The group is supported by RCT and is facilitated by Voices from Care.

Tyffany, Daniel and Laura delivered a fantastic speech on a project they have been working on regarding corporate parenting. The presentation reminded everyone who young people feel are their cooperate parents, the roles of a good corporate parent and how they can help looked after young people and care leavers. I think the presentation was wonderful and all the young people spoke fantastically and even I learned more about what’s going on my local authority, Rhondda Cynon Taff.

 Then there was a presentation from The Buddies Project from Conwy. This is a volunteer scheme run by care leavers from the local area. The Project helps young people who have run away from their placement by offering young people support and a free phone number if they are feeling like they want to run away or have run away. The main aim is to keep young people safe.

 The last speaker of the day was Mared from The Care Council For Wales, who explained the role of the Care Council and discussed a consultations around new guidance for residential care workers.

After the speeches were done we had out round table talks discussing: Getting More Support For Longer, Leaving Care – Getting It Right, The Role of Local Authorities, Promoting Belonging as well as giving views on the consultation by the Care Council For Wales.

Each table came out with some outstanding ideas and was so good to hear everyone’s views from young people, academics, and local councilors to social workers.

Over all I really enjoyed the day and it was great to be able to talk to young people from other areas of Wales and hear their views and learn from them. If you have any questions on the day or anything about voices why not write in the comments below and I will get back to you.

 Thanks for reading

J