Barnet Council and Live Unlimited, a charity set up by the Council to support care leavers, are celebrating Care Leavers Week with activities and events across the borough.
This year, the nationwide initiative will run from Wednesday 25 October to 1 November and will shine a spotlight on the remarkable journeys of care leavers, amplifying their voices, raising awareness of their challenges, and encouraging policy and practice change.
Barnet is supporting 325 care-experienced young people. These young people are enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study at Universities across the UK, they’re in full-time employment, and some are seeking work and study opportunities.
As a symbol of unity and support with care leavers and young people in care, Barnet Council will illuminate Hendon Town Hall blue on Saturday 28 October for National Care Leavers Week.
Cllr Pauline Coakley Webb, Cabinet Member for Family Friendly Barnet, said:
“In Barnet we care about people, which is why I am so proud that we will be celebrating Care Leavers Week, to help raise the voices of our incredible looked-after children and care leavers.
“We recognise that people who grow up in or spend time in care face difficulties and disadvantage that impacts them throughout their lives, which is why we treat care experience as if it were a protected characteristic.
“I look forward to the events and activities Live Unlimited and the council are putting on to celebrate.”
Live Unlimited was set up by Barnet Council in February 2018 to provide support for looked after children and care leavers beyond what the council can offer as part of its legal duties and responsibilities.
Sue Cocker, CEO of Live Unlimited, said:
“This week is an opportunity to honour the resilience and strength of care leavers as they transition into adulthood, and I count myself fortunate to have been able to see these characteristics of courage, fortitude and perseverance shine through in so many of the young people we meet.
“We are immensely proud of the number of young people we’ve supported over the past five years through our range of schemes which focus on developing new skills, creating opportunities, and reducing isolation.”
Live Unlimited works alongside staff in the council’s Family Services and Leaving Care team providing opportunities that may not otherwise be available to care experienced young people.
One such scheme is Driving Ahead, a package of 46 hours of free driving lessons including theory and practical test fee delivered by AA driving school. Learning to drive can be a game changer for a care leaver, yet for many it is financially out of their reach.
Notes to editors
National Care Leavers Week is an initiative from the Care Leaver’s covenant and is dedicated to is an opportunity to acknowledge the challenges they face and to work together toward positive change in the care system.
The Care Leaver Covenant, a program designed to support care leavers aged 16-25 in their quest to live independently, plays a crucial role in this initiative. Comprising members from the private, public, and voluntary sectors, the Covenant has made various pledges of support, each aimed at providing additional assistance for those leaving the UK’s care system.