At 18 years old, young care leavers prepare to make the transition from their children’s homes to independent adult living.
This can be a scary time for most teenagers but with the help and support of ‘Staying Close, Staying Connected’, care leavers can look to the future with hope, knowing they no longer have to face life’s milestones alone.
‘Staying Close, Staying Connected’ is a pilot housing scheme and package of support delivered in partnership with regional children’s charity Break, and Cambridgeshire and Norfolk County Councils. The scheme has been made possible by a grant of 1.3 million awarded to Break by the Department for Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Fund.
On Friday 28 September, Break officially opened its first ‘Moving on House’ in Cambridge. The event was attended by senior managers from the Cambridgeshire Children and Young People’s Service, Trustees and members of the Break leadership team, as well as young people who are already part of the project and local partner representatives.
The home is already occupied by two of Break’s young care leavers and was officially opened by Councillor Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, at Cambridgeshire County Council.
He said: “I’m really pleased to open Thorleye Road. The house provides a vital stepping stone from residential care to independent living for young people leaving care in Cambridge. The Staying Close, Staying Connected project supports young people across Cambridgeshire and Norfolk helping them to develop life skills and fulfilling the role of an extended family for young care leavers, providing them with support as they make the transition into young adulthood.”
Rachel Cowdry, Break’s Director of Care and Development said “We know leaving home can be difficult at the best of times, and when a young person has been in care, it can be very challenging. This project, Staying Close, Staying Connected, aims to support young people on this journey. With our partners, including Cambridge City Council who have been very proactive in sourcing properties for us, we endeavour to walk alongside young people and ease the transition.”
The project focuses on young people from Cambridgeshire and Norfolk but it is hoped that it will become nationally recognised as best practice in support for young care leavers.
The funding will pay for a pilot project in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to test out effective ways to support children leaving care until March 2020.
Cllr Bywater (right) with a young person living at the house