Exciting initiative launched to support care leavers

Wiltshire Community Foundation is delighted to announce that we have successfully secured funding, as part of a new national £3.6million programme to support care leavers.

The Care Leavers Programme, managed by UK Community Foundations, is a three-year initiative which involves 17 community foundations working with their local authorities to improve the lives of care leavers within their area.

The £3.6million match fund scheme is being funded by the Local Authorities’ Mutual Investment Trust (LAMIT), a shareholder of the UK’s biggest charities asset manager, CCLA.

There were 46,000 care leavers between 17 and 21 years old in England alone in 2022. Each year, young people leaving the care system immediately meet a range of challenges that their peers might not experience. Deficiencies in transitional and practical support mean that care leavers are often less likely to get the help they need to make a fresh start as a young adult. Gaps in support have been found when it comes to relationships and mentoring, education, employment and mental health.

In partnership with Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council, Wiltshire Community Foundation will be working towards increasing the opportunities for mentoring and coaching for care leavers.

The programme aims to improve the employment opportunities for care leavers by increasing the numbers entering higher and further education and vocational training by expanding our university bursary and vocational support programmes. It will also increase the opportunities for care leavers to have fun and experience new adventures by working in partnership with the local voluntary sector in Wiltshire and Swindon.

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE, Chair of LAMIT, says, “We are delighted with the response from local community foundations and their partner local authorities to this funding to provide good experiences and support to young people who too often have had too many bad experiences.

“Not only will we help a good number of young people with the £1.2 million a year fund that we have created with UK Community Foundations, but we will also be taking the opportunity to try and engage new partners at both a national level, through events like our launch and through a series of local conferences, to bring together the key players in supporting care leavers but also commercial companies and partners within the justice and health systems.

“Our care system is creaking at the seams, despite the best endeavours of dedicated professionals such as social workers and probation officers. We need to find innovative approaches for all young people who have left care, in which society can wrap its arm around them in the same way that we as parents and grandparents wrap our arms around the young people in our own family.”

Fiona Oliver, joint Chief Executive of Wiltshire Community Foundation said: “We are really pleased to have secured this funding, and to be working alongside both Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council to provide support and opportunities to care leavers within our communities.

“It is a sad reality that care leavers face a wide range of difficulties and challenges that most of their peers are fortunate enough not to experience and that is why initiatives like the CCLA Care Leavers Programme are so vital. We look forward to working with our partners and seeing the positive outcomes this new initiative will bring.”

Rosemary Macdonald BEM, Chief Executive at UK Community Foundations, says, “Inequalities for care leavers differ from region to region, and it is key that we harness the knowledge of local organisations to not just fund fantastic projects for young people leaving the care system, but to nurture those relationships and keep the momentum going to make real change happen.

“We hope to use this programme as a way of uniting communities and authorities, to explore local solutions to local issues and use the learning to influence wider support for care leavers.”

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