Shining a light on our care leavers: Council’s call on businesses to offer opportunities

Landmarks across Cumbria will be lit up blue this weekend (Saturday 28 October) for National Care Leavers Week.

The move comes as both of Cumbria’s councils are calling on local businesses and organisations to join them by signing up to the ‘Care Leaver’s Covenant’ and offer care leavers support and opportunities.

Both Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council have already joined and are encouraging businesses across the county to join them during National Care Leaver’s Week (25 October – 1 November).

Interested organisations and businesses will be provided with the help and support they need to develop an impactful offer and promote it to care leavers. Each organisation that commits to the Care Leaver Covenant will be able to offer a support package to care leavers that is tailored to its specific expertise. Examples of offers can anything from work experience placements, work shadowing placements, and apprenticeships to one-to-one mentoring, financial guidance, and educational opportunities.

During National Care Leavers Week, both councils in Cumbria will be lighting key landmarks blue to highlight the experiences care leavers face as they transition out of care and into adulthood.  On Saturday 28 October, landmarks joining in include: The Wave, Whitehaven Harbour; the Citadel, Court Square (Griffin, Station Hotel and Citadel Station) and Civic Centre in Carlisle; Barrow Town Hall and The Forum, Barrow; Kendal Town Hall – and more.

Cllr Sue Sanderson, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, said: “We do as much as we can for our young people after they leave care but we need the support of our communities too. Often, care leavers face barriers to entering the workplace or aren’t ready for that level of independence.

“However, care leavers can be some of the most talented, caring and driven young people in society, all they need is access to the right opportunities and support to help them get on in life. So please, if you’re a local business owner or organisation, join us by signing up to the Care Leaver’s Covenant and see how you can help.”

Cllr Emma Williamson, Executive Member Executive Member for Children’s, Family Wellbeing and Housing at Cumberland Council, said: “We have some incredible, talented and creative care experienced young people, who have thrived thanks to their resilience and the essential role of all those who have cared for them.  We want all our young care leavers to aim high and reach their potential as they move into adulthood.

“National Care Leavers Week is an opportunity to shine a light on their achievements – but also that they need support for their next steps in life.  We’re lighting our landmarks up blue to raise awareness of young people who have experienced care and the role organisations can play to support them.”

To find out more about what it means to sign up to the Care Leaver’s Covenant, visit their website.

If you are care experienced, check out the CLIC Facebook page or send them a private message to find out more about the support available for you.

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