Networking event helps care leavers succeed

Published: Friday 5th October 18

Young people leaving the care system have met with local businesses to help them make the contacts they need to get on in life.

Last night’s event at the Village Hall in Battersea Power Station was organised by Wandsworth Council’s chief executive Paul Martin. He invited a group of young care leavers and influential local businesses to get together and forge new relationships.

“We want to open up some of the fantastic opportunities in Wandsworth for our young people leaving care to help them get into employment. We’re hoping businesses get involved through mentoring, apprenticeships, work experience or in another way,” he said.

Wandsworth is a ‘corporate parent’, which means it has similar responsibilities for the children in its care as other parents, including giving them the help they need to reach their full potential.

The council’s spokesman for education and children’s service Sarah McDermott was also at the event. She said: “Wandsworth takes its responsibility as a corporate parent very seriously, and all our staff are encouraged to think of creative ways to nurture our young people and help them get on in life.

“Most parents will pass on their knowledge of how the world works to their children, and help them learn the right skills and meet the right people. We want our children to have the same life opportunities, and are encouraging the local business community to get involved and experience the huge satisfaction of really making a difference in someone’s life.”

A recent Ofsted inspection found that support for children leaving council care was strong and that as a result an increasing proportion move into education, training and employment. This year Wandsworth Council has brought in a package of support called the Local Offer to help its ‘looked after’ young people transition into adulthood.

As well as providing each care leaver with a personal advisor, support includes paying the council tax bills of young people leaving the care system, helping them learn how to budget and manage their own finances, and giving them clear information about support with health, relationship, education, training, accommodation and work.

The Future First service, which oversees this Local Offer, is one of two Wandsworth services to have been nominated in the prestigious 2018 Children and Young People Now awards. The other is the Participation and Independent Visitors Service which runs both CLICK (Children Living in Care Kouncil), providing a voice for young people in care, and the independent visitors scheme which matches up young people who have little or no contact with family members with a volunteer who befriends them.

If you are a local business that wants to get involved, email Paul.Martin@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk.

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