Care Leavers Speak Out With Style

Over 400 people attended a one off event at Tate Britain on Monday night (23rd October) to raise awareness about the issues affecting young people from care.

The Futures event celebrated the creative achievements of care leavers and included music, poetry, rap and film performances by care experienced young people.  

The performers worked on their creative projects with local authorities and organisations from across the country including Derbyshire aftercare team, Leicester Children’s Rights Service, NCH Hillingdon Children’s Rights Coordinator, Lancashire County Council’s After Care Service, St Christopher Fellowship in London, Redcar and Cleveland Leaving Care Team, the Westminster Leaving Care team and Anglesey Social Services.

As part of its ‘This is not a suitcase’ campaign, A National Voice (ANV), the organisation run by people from care hosted a ‘bin bag’ fashion show – starring young people wearing amazing outfits made completely from plastic bags. 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.

Futures was a collaboration of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Tate Britain, Barnardo’s, the Price’s Trust and A National Voice. The event was planned to raise awareness about the lack of educational, housing and developmental support young people often receive as they seek to define their goals and fulfil their ambitions.

Chief Executive of SCIE, Bill Kilgallon, said: “Young people who leave care often miss the opportunity to reach their full potential because of the complex pressures on their lives. As the government has launched its green paper and set out its proposals to address the challenges faced by looked-after children and young people, it is particularly important that we remember the support young people need in transition to adulthood.

“Despite research showing the benefits creative pursuits can have on the self esteem of young people, care leavers are underrepresented in performing arts. This event was a fantastic opportunity to show what these young people can do when they are given the support they deserve.”