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Lucinda's Wish

"To find out that the system was not going to work out for me made me feel like I was no longer a priority."

"I wish for children in care who go to university not to be disadvantaged if they cannot take up the offer of council accommodation in the ‘right’ year of their lives. For example, those who choose to take a gap year first, or whose course comes with an option of studying overseas."

 

"In 2019, I graduated from university with a first-class degree, then passed my PGCE in 2020.  Now I have no place of my own. What went wrong?

My degree was in modern languages and took four years. Add on the PGCE and that is five years at university. Young people leaving the care system are offered council accommodation, but only in the year that they turn 21.

I still had two years to go at that time, and was not able to take this up as my university is at the other end of the country. I asked whether this council accommodation could be deferred until I finished university. It could not."

 

To find out that the system was not going to work out for me made me feel like I was no longer a priority. I felt like I was being punished for choosing a degree with a year abroad (a once in a lifetime opportunity!)

 

I also didn’t feel listened to when trying to explain my situation because there didn’t seem to be any alternative. It was very much a ‘now or never’ type of scenario, so I really had no choice but to decline. 

As a result, over a year later, I am back to living with my former foster carers. I am fortunate to be able to do so! What about care experienced young people who cannot live back with their foster carers once they leave university, but no longer qualify for council accommodation under the leaving care scheme?

From my experience, I wish that the council housing policy be reformed to allow care experienced young people the opportunity to live in council accommodation from the year that they finish higher education, and not restrict this offer to a particular year. 

 

One size does not fit all.

Lucinda, 24