Narratives
 
 


  What our grants can do

Most of our grants are small, one off payments that help with immediate need. Some grant recipients return for further support as the years roll by:


Kimberley Marsh is 28 years old and is currently a PhD Candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant in Criminology at the University of Manchester. Since June 2013 Kimberly is also part time administrator for the New Belongings project. Kimberley received her first grant from The Care Leavers’ Foundation in 2004 when she was a 19 year old under-graduate.    

“The Care Leaver’s Foundation has been an amazing help to me over the years, with both an interest in my success and grants to enable me to make the progress I need. They have enabled key resources to be purchased and keeping my income to a level which meant I did not have to work full time whilst I have been studying. There generous amounts ranging from £250 to £750 per year (with four grants being received over ten years) have been crucial for my research materials and other day to day necessities for my studies; I honestly believe without their help and overall assistance I would have struggled working more hours in employed payment to cover my shortfall and it would of dramatically hindered my progress.

Not only has the financial assistance been extremely influential in aiding my progress, the general interest and opportunities the Foundation offer, is truly wonderful. Janet always ensures that I am considered for care leaver roles and I really appreciate that; not only do I feel I am giving something back, I find it of central importance to my own studies. All in all, I am so grateful and blessed to have received support from the Foundation through both financial assistance and general support. I really cannot thank them enough and will be sure to acknowledge my thanks to them in my PhD!”

 

“What you are doing for this young man is really incredible.  His problems had really got him down and you and your team's belief in him has made such a difference and just at the moment he is working so hard hes getting too tired to keep things in proportion - thank you.  You really have made such a difference.  The money is a huge help but your belief in him is even more” ex-Foster Carer.
 

24 year old Scott King first became known to the Foundation when he participated in our first roundtable discussion with the then new Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton, in August 2010. He subsequently joined the ongoing ‘Minister’s Group’ of care leavers which he now chairs.

Scott was not always very good at saying he was struggling as he prefers to sort things out himself and doesn’t like to ask for help. In the two and a half years we have known him he has overcome homelessness, re-entered further education and fought to maintain both his shared tenancy ‘the first secure place I have ever lived’, and feed himself through his one year level 3 Caring for Children and Young People qualification which is his passport to achieving his dream – taking a Social Work Degree. Scott starts his degree course in September 2013, and is already active in developing and delivering training for foster carers and social workers.

The Foundation has been able to offer modest support to help with rent top-ups and empty larder crises. Despite improvements in support for Care Leavers accessing further and higher education Scott is one of many care leavers who has found himself trapped by a system which makes it very difficult to study full time and survive financially supported solely by part time and casual income. Although our grants are generally still quite small, Scott confirms that sometimes a little can go a long way:

“Whether you are in care or not things go wrong in adult life and problems are inevitable. However once we leave care completely we realise the value of the support we once had, even if it wasn’t great it was something. My journey to success has been a battle but thanks to The Care Leavers Foundation I did not battle alone. Their grants supported me to stay housed and fed whilst also providing me with emotional support and advice. I owe my success to them and I am wholeheartedlygrateful for their long term, unconditional support.”


Visit Scott’s website
 

Regan Metcalfe is a 31 year old training professional. She has come through some very difficult times before, during and after care and has been an adult mental health service user. Whilst working hard and doing well in a career which is not the one she would have chosen ‘It pays the bills, and I know I am good at my job and work hard for the company’, Regan has also been developing her own training in the area of self-injury. She now offers this training through the company Harm-ed.   

“When leaving the care system I never dreamt I would make it through the year. Simply staying alive was my focus - I had no thought for the luxuries of life that others around me seemed so concerned with.

From where I am now looking back, I can see that I have become one of those ‘others’. Loving spending my wages on the latest gadget, the holiday abroad and the simple excitement and anticipation of a weekend waiting to be enjoyed.

Between that terrifying experience of being made to leave care, and getting to where I am now has been a rocky road. Back then I was ‘doing fine’ eating one meal a day, sofa surfing, making friends and living in the moment. Sometimes working, sometimes partying, sometimes in hospital (again) I somehow continued to survive. Until I realised life wasn’t just about surviving, it was about a future and planning who and what I wanted to be.

After 7 years of working very hard to make my life stable and happy I was ready to start to accomplish the positive things that some people took for granted. I wanted to be the proud owner of a driving licence but the cost was an impossible amount for me to find, for my provisional let alone lessons. The Care Leavers’ Foundation was there for me when I had nobody else to turn to for this massive step to independence. I was provided with a grant to cover my driving licence application and my driving lessons.

That was a long time ago. Life now isn’t so scary and lonely. I live in a wonderful city and have a job and a partner that I love. The training I deliver means that all the very dark experiences of my early life can be used to help support those who are still there.

I believe that The Care Leavers’ Foundation is simply essential. Who else will support care leavers on the path to adulthood when they have nobody?”


Visit Regan’s Training Website
 

“I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be able to sleep in a bed for the first time in a year. Thank you.”

Christine

 

Suniva was 21 when she applied for a grant. She was on the point of breaking out of a marriage in which she was experiencing domestic violence. She had two children and nowhere to go. Before making a grant to Suniva we needed to talk to her to try and be certain she had a plan, and she knew what she was doing, otherwise she could have been placed in more danger. We sent her £100 as an emergency payment so she could get to a safe refuge and have enough for food, taxis, and essentials over the next 48 hours. When we heard from Suniva again she was safe with her sister, very clear that she had made the right decision, and already starting to make plans about getting her eldest child into a new school. She had a lot of chaos in her mind and a lot of confused feelings about the various abuses she had experienced. She was beginning to understand that all of the relationships she had been in were abusive, and she no longer wanted to live in this way. The Foundation made a further payment to enable travel and therapy sessions and also put a bit of pressure on social services to meet their obligations when they found a secure tenancy for Suniva and her two children, but failed to make any provision for even the most basic furniture, leaving the family to share one mattress on the floor between them. Suniva still has a lot of things to sort out in her life, and has shown a great deal of courage to break out of the situation she was in. By responding to the initial request as an emergency, and following through with a little more essential support, The Foundation was able to assist Suniva to keep herself and her children safe in that crucial first few days, when she could so easily have given in and gone back to her abusive husband.          

“Being able to travel to see my son has made a world of difference to me. Thank you so much for the support.”  Christopher

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