Creative Care Leavers Wanted For Special Awareness-Raising Event

Care leavers who can use visual or performing arts to describe their hopes, fears and visions of the future are wanted for a special event to mark the start of National Care Leavers Week 2006. Taking place at Tate Britain in the evening of 23 October, Futures will showcase the achievements of people with care experience and highlight any barriers to their progression. Young care leavers with all interests – including music, film, art, poetry and comedy – are invited to submit ideas for presentations to show at the event. Futures is a collaboration by A National Voice (ANV), the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Barnardo’s, the Princes Trust and the National Leaving Care Advisory Service (NLCAS).

Speakers at the event will include David Kidney MP – Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on looked after children and care-leavers.

Chief Executive of SCIE, Bill Kilgallon, believes that we must learn from care experienced young people: “All young people have to make decisions and work hard to find their way after leaving education. But for young people in care, the considerations are even more complex. Research into fostering and residential care shows how vital it is that we listen to young people, let them tell us about their experiences, and strive to improve services as a result.

“Futures is a unique opportunity for young care leavers to be creative and express their thoughts to an influential audience in a magnificent space. We’re looking forward to this impressive start to National Care Leavers Week.”

Principal Policy Officer at Barnardo’s, Pam Hibbert, agrees: “Young people in care too often feel that they are ‘written off’ and that society has low aspirations for them. We hope that the Futures event will demonstrate the creativity of young people who have been in the care system and their ability to achieve, often despite rather than because of the support they get. We hope that as many people as possible will attend the event and spread the word that these young people have a tremendous amount of talent and skill.”

As part of its ‘This is not a suitcase’ campaign, the user led in and leaving care organisation ANV will also host a bin bag fashion show, The Refuse Collection, at the Futures event. The campaign, which ANV has been running for the past two years, is a catwalk protest against the practice of using bin bags to move children’s belongings which is still used by some local authorities in the UK.

ANV have vowed to continue the campaign until every local authority has agreed to provide young people in care with proper suitcases or luggage to move their possessions. ANV has designed a ‘no bin bag charter’ to allow the 150 local authorities to pledge their support – over half have signed up so far.

Southern Development Worker at A National Voice and care leaver, Sam Block, said: “As young people in care move between placements, area and surroundings, their belongings are the only things that remain constant and stay with them. Belongings are important and should be treated with respect – they are not rubbish to be moved around in flimsy bin bags.

“A National Voice are delighted that 80 of the 150 local authorities in England have signed up to our ‘no bin bag charter’ and have agreed that young people should not be given bin bags to move their possessions. But the campaign will not be finished until we have complete agreement and the bad practice has been stopped throughout the country.

“We’re urging all care leavers to apply to perform at Futures and speak out on the issues that affect them.”

As well as recruiting young people to take part in the event, Futures also wants to hear from anyone with an interest in services for care-experienced young people who would like to attend come and support the event.

If you know young people from care who would like to perform at Futures or you would like to apply for tickets to attend the event at Tate Britain visit