The latest event in the successful Beyond Lockdown series brought care leavers, voluntary sector, local authorities and academia to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on care leavers’ wellbeing and chart the progress of the research programme.
The event, held jointly with University of Sussex, Creative Research Collective and NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS), provided an opportunity for care leavers to share how lockdown had affected them and explain how they’d like to be supported through key messages to other care leavers and those who work in leaving care services.
Delegates were shown a video outlining a series of messages from Kent care leavers to other care leavers and those working with them. A group of care leavers from East Sussex then took part in a live Q&A session to share their views on how best to communicate key messages to care leavers.
Mark Riddell MBE, National Adviser for Care Leavers to the Department for Education, then chaired a session to look at the amazing progress that organisations had made on previous pledges to support care leavers across the region.
These included West Sussex County Council, who have established a Care Leaver Advisory Group which will co- design/co-produce work and support any meaningful projects the service proposes; Kent County Council has developed a new virtual Zoom drop-in service from; and East Sussex County Council is progressing the idea of the Buddy Scheme into a mentoring programme across its Looked After Children and Care Leaver’s population.
Becca Randell, Starting Well Implementation Lead, KSS AHSN, said there had been great progress as a result of the Beyond Lockdown research, which ran from June to December 2020.
“The pledges, together with the videos and a range of other support materials for care leavers and those working with them, are now available on our website, and we’ll be adding to these as the work progresses,” she said.
“I am also delighted that we have been invited to the Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum to share this work across all other local authorities across UK.”