Katie is 17 and recently moved out of her children’s home into semi-independent accommodation. She has to cook, clean, budget, find a job, pay for travel and college expenses and make a whole new set of friends, as her new flat is an hour away from the children’s home by bus.
She has no contact with her birth family by her own choice: the years of violence they put her through took their toll and she is unable to see them without becoming upset and returning to self-harm.
Katie was starting to feel lonely and overwhelmed by independent living. She didn’t feel like she had anyone she could call for help. If you’re a parent, your children won’t stop calling you when they reach 16, 17 or 18 – the ages at which young people leave care. But for care leavers, it can mean the beginning of the end of the support you receive. Who do they call in that first week away from home, when they’ve forgotten how to boil an egg or are struggling to make friends? What if their phone bill costs more than they thought and they need an extra £20? Or when the washing machine breaks or the heating goes, or they need a lift from the station?
The staff at Katie’s children’s home had done what they could to prepare her for life on her own but had other young people to focus on now.
Katie found out about Become [then The Who Cares? Trust] after we went to her children’s home to do a magazine workshop. She showed a real interest in writing and media, and started attending Young Editors’ sessions in our London office. As she started to relax she tried out other skills and personal development workshops that offered her the training and support she needed. And she came to our 2014 residential weekend where she made loads of new friends! Now she’s graduating to paid work on the Trust’s projects, including advising on new publications for young people.