Care Leavers' Week

Published on: Wednesday, 22-October-2014

Support for young people leaving care will be the focus of a series of activities in Knowsley to coincide with National Care Leavers’ Week.

Currently, Knowsley Council is working with 81 young people who are leaving the care system and beginning a new life as independent adults. It is a critical time for them and the council has to provide the support that other young people take for granted from their families.

This year’s National Care Leavers’ Week events range from fun football matches and Halloween parties to more serious awareness raising and influencing work.

Today (Wednesday, 22 October), a group of young people from Knowsley with experience of the care system will be travelling to London to attend a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Looked After Children and Care Leavers. They will be joining key decision makers to debate how carers, teachers and other professionals can better support children in care who have special educational needs.

Meanwhile several members of staff at Knowsley Council are preparing to take up the challenge of managing on a budget of just £20 for a week for food – the amount that care leavers usually have left out of their living allowance to pay for meals. 

 Members of the council’s Young Person’s Team as well as senior managers including Paul Boyce, Director of People Services, will begin their challenge on Monday.

Paul Boyce said: “The idea of National Care Leavers’ Week is to raise awareness of the challenges facing young people leaving care.

“It’s really important that all staff in Knowsley who work with young people have a good understanding of those issues and the real experiences of the young people for whom we have a duty of care.

“I’m really pleased that so many council staff have offered to join me in trying to stick to that £20 weekly food budget. I can’t deny that it’ll be a challenge, but I’m hoping it’ll also give me a better insight into the difficult choices some of our young people have to make.”

Knowsley Council also plans to use National Care Leavers’ Week as a way to gather valuable feedback from a Care Leavers’ Questionnaire, which will help shape the kinds of services which will be provided in the future to improve the experiences of young people leaving care in the borough.

And there will be lots of fun events, too. This Friday there’s Halloween cake decorating and mask making being organised by the Knowsley Care Leavers’ Forum, followed by a ‘Spook Tacular’ Halloween event at Stadt Moers Park in Whiston, organised with the council’s Rangers service, the Young Person’s Team and MADE, a group of looked after young people.

Next week there’ll also be a football match held with teams of young people taking on council staff.

Cllr Gary See, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, said: “Supporting young people who are leaving care and making the transition into independent living is a really important role of the local authority, and one we take extremely seriously.

“National Care Leavers’ Week is a great opportunity to raise awareness of this, and hopefully the events that are taking place in Knowsley will prove both fun and thought provoking, for all those who take part.”