Events for care leavers happening this week
This week Southampton is celebrating the achievements, talents and aspirations of our care leavers.
Southampton City Council is currently responsible for 180 care leavers, most aged 18 or over, who have spent time in care and who are provided with a range of practical and financial support and advice by the council to make the transition to an independent adult life. For National Care Leavers’ Week (Monday 28 October to Friday 1 November), Southampton City Council and others have arranged a series of free, fun and informative activities for care leavers. These include:
- A 'meet and greet' where care leavers can meet the Mayor of Southampton as well as senior managers in Southampton City Council's children’s services (see image)
- An event at the John Hansard Gallery for parents and others involved in the care and education of looked-after children, where they can learn more about the support available as they make the transition to independent adult life and to education
- A careers fair exclusively for care leavers, giving them the opportunity to meet with local employers, colleges and universities and find out more about their options
- An open morning for care leavers, where they can find out about university life and the support available to them as care leavers
Southampton City Council provides year-round support to care leavers up to the age of 25 to ensure that they get the best possible start in life. Dedicated personal and education advisors work closely with young people to provide one-to-one support and advice on a number of issues – from access to employment and housing to further education – as well as linking with other agencies, such as housing and health.
The council also has a dedicated forum for care leavers, where they are able to raise issues and challenges with the council and help shape services that meet their needs. In addition, earlier this year the council introduced a new Council Tax discount and exemption scheme for care leavers to help ease financial pressures on their journey to independence.
Councillor Darren Paffey, Cabinet Member for Aspiration, Children, and Lifelong Learning said: "This week is a positive opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our young care leavers, and also to recognise the work that takes place behind the scenes across the council to give them the best chance for their future.
"The whole council is committed to supporting and listening to young people in the city when they leave care. As a corporate parent, we recognise the special circumstances of care leavers and work hard to ensure that their journey to adulthood and independent living is as smooth as possible – whether this is by ensuring they have year-round access to professional advice or expertise, or financial assistance to help with living costs or education."
Anyone interested in more information about these events can call 023 8091 5346.