New Offer gives care leavers opportunity to achieve their goals

New Offer gives care leavers opportunity to achieve their goals

Nottinghamshire care leavers can now benefit from even more advice, support and guidance to help give them the best start into adulthood.

The Local Offer for Care Leavers provides support and guidance on a whole host of subjects, with tips to help young people make good decisions about their futures.

The County Council has been working closely with the seven district councils as well as care leavers, to develop a new Nottinghamshire ‘Local Offer’ for young people.

The Local Offer will help care leavers from 16 to 25 years, understand the support and guidance they can receive from the County Council, their local district or borough council and the local community.

The Offer includes tips on housing and setting up home, jobs, training, money, health and relationships.

Care leavers will benefit from Council Tax payments being waived until the age of 25, financial support whilst at university including £3,465 a year towards fees and accommodation costs paid all year round, help to access support with childcare costs while working or studying and help with securing a £1,000 apprenticeship bursary.

Councillor Philip Owen, chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services, at Nottinghamshire County Council said that the council had a commitment as ‘corporate parents’ to ensure young people received the best possible support as they plan to leave care and prepare for adult life.

He said: “It is a big step for young people when they move out of care and start living on their own or with others. They deserve the best support possible from their parents, both practical and emotional.

“As corporate parents, we want to make sure our care leavers feel safe, supported and know where to get advice and help.

“I’m delighted that the councils across Nottinghamshire have worked so closely on this Local Offer which will help to give care leavers every opportunity to achieve their goals and aspirations.”

Speaking on behalf of the district councils, John Robinson, Chief Executive of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Those of us who are parents know only too well that we don’t suddenly stop supporting our children when they reach 18.   Young people leaving residential care can often face a range of disadvantages and the Local Care Offer seeks to level the playing field with their peers and give young people leaving care the encouragement and support they need to fulfil their potential.”

Care leaver campaigner Terry Galloway has been instrumental in advising on the Local Offer and is well placed to offer advice having been in care himself throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.

Terry said: “I want to give the care leavers of today the benefit of my experience in care. When I left care, there was very little help available, I felt very much on my own and not prepared for life after care.

“My mission now is to create a better pathway for children in care and care leavers so that they have the support they need, akin to the support we would give our own children.

Nottinghamshire is the first upper tier local authority to introduce council tax exemption across every district. They are also the first local authority to create a joined up local offer for care leavers involving seven other local authorities.

Terry added: “I put forward my ideas to create apprenticeships and jobs for care leavers at a business breakfast last month. Some of the county’s largest retailers and businesses attended and as a result pledged their support to look at apprenticeships, training and mentoring for care leavers.

“I now want to take that work forward to create a national model. My ultimate goal is to create a guaranteed job opportunity for every care leaver, supported by job coaches and to get them ready for the world of work and beyond.”

Care leaver Keeley Terry, 20, has advised on several aspects for the Local Offer and is delighted that care leavers will benefit from the guidance and support it provides.

Keeley, who was in care from 13 – 18 years old, now lives with her daughter Darcie-Ann in Eastwood and has recently joined the county council as a care leaver apprentice, currently working on a mental health project for adolescents.

Keeley commented: “The Local Offer gives care leavers a sense of security, they know they are not on their own and help is only a phone call away. We don’t have the family network around us that most teenagers have, so it’s vital we access the support the councils are providing.

“My advice to any care leaver is visit the Notts Help Yourself website and check what help and opportunities are available, the help I have received has given me tremendous confidence to move on to the next phase of my life.”

Find out more about the Nottinghamshire’s Local Offer for Care Leavers. (Opens in a New Window)

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