Celebrating the power of the diverse but close-knit care experienced community this Care Day

Today is Care Day 2022 and we’re handing our blog over to George Downing.  George is a care leaver and part of Become’s Youth Network as well as their Sky’s the Limit Design Team. Sky’s the Limit is a group project by Become to redesign ‘leaving care’ and offer a fresh and aspirational vision for how the care system should be supporting care-experienced young adults. 

Become is the national charity for children in care and care leavers and you can find out more about Become here. 

 

So here we are: it’s Care Day, a day to celebrate community, role models and success. 

Firstly, I would like to show my gratitude for the amazing work that has gone on behind closed doors, during the most unique and difficult times. We need more than a day to celebrate the hard work that has happened, truly.

There are so many great leaders and change-makers in the care community now. It’s not often you get the opportunity to speak directly to someone who is in a position to influence positive change. I believe now we have the collective vision needed going forward.

Ahead of the Care Review final recommendations, we hope Josh MacAlister will show where and how our ‘corporate parent’ can make changes to better our future. A future where the ‘care-cliff’ doesn’t exist. No more postcode lottery. Where every young person can have dreams and no boundaries. Facilitate building long-lasting relationships. More support, more guidance and early interventions to prepare young people to have a great adulthood. 

Every care-experienced person I have had the pleasure to meet has inspired me more to be a good person, with hard-set morals to live by. They have shown me how to be strong in the face of adversity. They have shown me how to be powerful and how to be part of a diverse but close-knit community. The issues and challenges raised will not be an easy task to fix, but with the passion and focus going forward I want to see positive change. It is not for me, it is for the person reading this to have what they NEED as human beings.

I have only experienced meeting others like me since the first lockdown, mainly through the Become Zoom Link-Up. I remember looking forward to them every Tuesday. We would share stories, play games and have so many things in common. It made me think: “I wish I had this when I was actually in care.” 

I was part of a community and I didn’t even realise myself. I wasn’t alone, I am not alone in the struggles to get what we need.

We are experts by experience, but our experiences are unique to us, we know where the problems lay, we know how to fix them and we know what we need.

I really enjoyed the whole process of Sky’s the Limit project. I was able to put across my perspective to key stakeholders and also bring in others with important experience. This is important, as others in my position were given the opportunity to speak directly to people who can make a change for the better.

The process of this project was really different to those I am used to. We were able to express ourselves in a creative but safe space, which in itself is a great thing. It made me feel reassured that the team around me are just as motivated for positive change as I am. It is important to share this passion with others because the passion is what brings the change the younger people need right now.

I really enjoyed the process of this project because it was very thorough and left no stone unturned. It was great to actually speak to key stakeholders in the recent care review. I believe this is important because it gives more gravity to the arguments made, it is coming from real and passionate people who need to see positive change.

It is the beginning of something better, but still not good enough. We will continue to fight for positive change.

George

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