Celebrating National Care Leavers’ Week

Did you know that the 25th October to the 1st November is National Care Leavers’ Week #NCLW for 2023? And this year, organisations are calling on everyone to CARE! If you want to find out more about how you can support the campaign, visit Become’s website, the national charity for children in care and young care leavers.


CARE stands for:

  • Celebrate care leavers
  • Amplify their voices
  • Raise awareness of challenges
  • Encourage change in policy an practice

Here at The Mighty Creatives, we’ve been supporting Care Leavers since 2015. Whether that’s through:

  • funding important and vital work happening in Derbyshire through Derbyshire County Council’s #VirtualArtsSchool programme;
  • providing care leavers with Youth Empowerment Funds to support the development of their own creative and socially engaged practice;
  • or successfully applying to funders like BBC’s Children in Need and Charities Aid Foundation to support the development of our post-16 Creative Mentoring work.

That’s why empowering and amplifying the creative voices of care leavers is so important to us!


But why is this support needed now more than ever?

Well, have you heard of the ‘Care Cliff’? Unfortunately, for young people who are leaving care, support can disappear or change drastically overnight when a young person turns 18. Opportunities for support then become few and far between again at 21-years-old, and then again at 25-years-old. A survey conducted with Care Leavers by Centrepoint in 2021 showcased that only 43% of the care leavers they surveyed were ready to live independently when they first left care.


BBC’s recent show Teens in Care, also clearly demonstrated the impact of the ‘Care Cliff’ on young people who are turning 18, where support is only available ‘if they are lucky’ rather than a universal right.

The statistics out there undoubtably show the challenges that care experienced young people face when approaching 18, like the struggles to stay into education and employment, experiencing instability in housing and difficulties with mental health for example.

For example, out of all Care Leavers in England between 19-21 years old in 2022:

  • 71% are not in an education pathway (full-time or part-time [including higher education]),
  • 74% are unemployed (due to disabilities, parenting or other reasons),
  • 6% are not in accommodation that is suitable for them.

However, we know that care leavers – through their lived experiences – have exceptional levels of resilience, motivation, and personal drive that, if empowered and celebrated in the right way and by the right people, we can really champion them to make the best, well-informed steps for their futures.

So, let’s flip the statistics on their head…


Out of all care leavers in England between 19-21 years old, in 2022:

  • 29% are in Education (full-time or part-time [including higher education])
  • 26% are in Employment or Training (including apprenticeships)
  • 94% are in accommodation that is suitable.

There are also some amazing achievements made by Care Leavers in the East Midlands that need to be celebrated! For example, 30 Care Leavers from Derbyshire County Council’s Virtual School are in university placements as of October 2023, with two of these attending Oxford University.

Much like the statutory support provided by Virtual Schools and Leaving Care teams, there are lots of organisations, charities and support networks for Care Leavers, including national organisations such as…

  • National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum: A Forum of over 125 local authority leaving care teams, working together to share good practice and improve services and support for care experienced people.
  • Barnardo’s: A National charity who, for Care Leavers, provide employment and training advice, support with accommodation, support with pathway plans and Personal Advisors, financial support and Mental Health Support.
  • Catch 22: Supporting the transition to independence.

And more locally in the East Midlands…

  • NottAlone: Local Mental Health advice and help for young people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
  • Leicestershire Cares: A charity who works across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland so inspire children and young people in their transition to the workplace.
  • Care to Dance: a social enterprise that supports care-experienced young people through the medium of dance.

And of course, there’s us at The Mighty Creatives…

Our award-winning Creative Mentoring service, part-funded by BBC’s Children in Need, empowers children and young people aged 5-25 to discover their sense of self, purpose, belonging, and a world of possibilities through creative practice – with this just being one of the many inspirational and innovative services from third-sector organisations across the country. We do this to empower the creative voices of children and young people and to harness the power of creativity to create meaningful change for them and their futures.

Why not hear about the work from our young people themselves?

Below are two of our Creative Mentee’s stories about their experiences of Creative Mentoring – and how the service supported them in their transition out of care. We love hearing from children and young people about their experiences but especially the way it supports young people to take those small (and big!) steps into the next phase of their life.

Kevin’s story

Tom’s story

creative mentoring service

Find out more about our award-winning Creative Mentoring service, including how it works and how it can empower your young people.

youth voice network

Why not join our Youth Voice Network to share and learn best practice approaches to youth voice and better understand the topics that young people care about?

Become’s #NCLW CARE campaign

Find out more about Become’s #NCLW CARE campaign, including how you can get involved and support the campaign.