Telford & Wrekin Care Leaver tells other young people to ‘not look back, just move forward’
Telford & Wrekin Council is celebrating care leavers in the borough this week as a part of National Care Leavers Week 2023 which takes place from Wednesday 25 October to Wednesday 2 November.
As a corporate parent, Telford & Wrekin Council is passionate about doing everything, they can to make sure children who are cared for and care leavers are set up for life. This includes offering support around health and wellbeing, finance, employment and accommodation.
Kyle, 19, has told the council about his experience living as a care leaver in Telford and Wrekin and how he has been supported to find employment. He is now using his experience to support other young people in the borough to overcome their barriers and plays an active role on the council’s young person’s panel.
Kyle said: “I can honestly say that supporting care leavers like myself to find work is so important. Before I started working full time 6 months ago I had no routine but this new challenge has changed my life. I was given support by the council from job searching to interview practice, and even now in my role, I know where to turn to for support if I need anything.
“My confidence has improved massively. I now sit on the council’s young person’s panel where I offer my support to other young people in a similar situation. It’s really rewarding to be able to use my life experience to help others. My advice it is always quite simply to not look back, just move forward!”
Earlier this year, Telford & Wrekin Council was named the first council in the West Midlands to make “care experience” a “protected characteristic”. This means that “care experience” has been added as an additional characteristic in Telford and Wrekin and given the same protection as other protected characteristics under the Equality Act (2010), such as age, disability, race, religion and others.
Councillor Shirley Reynolds (Lab), Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families said: “Kyle’s words are extremely heartening and having had that support himself we are extremely proud that he is now able to use his experience to influence other young people.
“We hold high aspirations for all of our care leavers, and we will continue to be their champions. As corporate parents, we are responsible for providing the best possible care for all children and young people looked after by our authority. Our “Local Offer to Care Leavers” is in place and we are also recognised as a “Outstanding” Ofsted-rated council for Children’s Services, but we will always strive to do more to help care experienced young people to build a prosperous, healthy and happy future. We will continue to be on their side.”
The borough’s Care leavers Covenant is also another way the council is supporting young care leavers locally. The Covenant works with small and large businesses and organisations to publish offers and opportunities specifically for care leavers, to help them kickstart their transition into independence.
From 25 October through to 2 November the council will be lighting up its Southwater One building in Telford Town Centre in purple to celebrate care leavers and everything they have achieved.
To find out more about the council’s support for children and young people in care and care leavers, visit the council’s website.