Most care leavers move to independent living between 16-18 and expect to undertake their journey to adulthood from restricted to full participation in society far younger, and in far less time, than their peers.
Having to independently manage a home, finances and their lives means that leaving care is a challenging transition period with little or no option to return for support. Young people face major changes during these times: leaving care homes and setting up a new home; leaving school and finding ways into further education, training or employment; coping with long term unemployment and for some, even starting a new family.
Care leavers are frequently denied the psychological opportunity to focus and deal with issues over time.; their journey to adulthood is both accelerated and compressed.
Too many young people leave care with poor educational attainment, which leads to long term unemployment. Care leavers are more likely to feature high worklessness, criminality and mental ill-health statistics, and to have children that go into care.
Support from a Creative Mentor can give these vulnerable young people better life chances. Positive partnerships they make with projects such as this bridge the gap they need to make this transition through Creative Mentoring support.
Between 2020 and 2022 we are funded to work with over 100 participants aged 16-19 who will participate in an interactive mentoring programme. This will provide over 24 hours of personal development, mentoring and skills-based provision focused on developing creativity, confidence and improving communication and relationship building.
With improved skills, participants are supported to re-engage in further education and explore pathways into further employment, education or training.
As a partnership, we co-design the project with young people to ensure they exert a decisive influence on the direction of the work and so gain control to over their own futures as they transition from care to independent living.
The project will provide Essential Skills, improving lives through nurturing, empowering and inspiring them through creative experiences. Young people will become successful learners, responsible citizens, creative thinkers and reflective individuals.
Creative Mentoring will support young people to be Positively Empowered and strengthen their self-belief, leading to a greater sense of pride in themselves and confidence to engage in society.
They develop positive relationships to overcome challenges of finding pathways into work or further education and life skills to help them start up home independently of social care.