Cumbria Crack

Youth charity’s impactful work with care leavers gets a £45,000 boost

A group of young care leavers on a Brathay Get Real programme being helped to reach their potential

[A] Lakes youth charity has been awarded a development grant of £45,000 to scope the extension of its work with young people leaving the care of local authorities. It could result in a £1million contract over five years and benefit hundreds of young people across the north of England who are making the transition out of care.

Brathay Trust, whose head office is near Ambleside and who works throughout the north of England, applied to the Government’s Life Chances Fund (LCF) which was launched last July (2016).

Last month (July 2017) they heard they had been successful. Heather Dixon, Brathay’s Finance Director, said: “This development grant means we can look at how we can deliver our highly impactful ‘Get Real’ programme on a much larger scale, involving several local authorities and a social investor. It’s already made a difference in the Wirral where we have delivered it for several years. The Life Chances Fund means we can develop our evidence base further and make sure youngsters really benefit from the programme.

“Over the next few months we will be working closely with potential commissioners to ensure we are providing maximum help for young people who currently lack support in transitioning from care to independent living” added Heather.

Brathay’s ‘Get Real’ programme supports young care leavers to move towards employment, education or training. Weekly sessions focus on raising aspirations, confidence and self-belief as well as increasing motivation and attainment. Care leavers are also helped to recognise their strengths and skills and they are supported into education, employment and/or training.

It has helped people like Alex who started living in care when he was seven. By the age of 17 he faced an uncertain future; he had moved foster carers twice, had very low self-esteem and confidence and found it difficult to interact with people. Like many other young people in care, he left school with low GSCE grades. He said “I didn’t do too well at school and then when I left didn’t want to do college. I ended up not doing much in the day. I didn’t see a future”.

Alex joined Brathay’s “Get Real” programme for care leavers. The programme focused on personal development and linked this to employment skills. Over a ten week course Alex became a vital member of the team and his confidence grew. At the end of the programme there was a six week work placement; Alex’s was at a warehousing company. His employer was impressed with his hard work and Alex successfully progressed onto an apprenticeship which stabilised his living arrangements allowing him to plan for the future. Now a “Get Real Graduate” Alex volunteers to speak to others about his experience, something he would never have had the confidence to do before.

The Life Changes Fund supports local public sector organisations to commission social impact bonds and other payment-by-results contracts involving “socially-minded investors”. Social impact bonds involve public sector bodies agreeing a payment-by-results contract to deliver social outcomes with a charity or other social sector body. Delivery of the service is then funded by a social investor, who takes a cut of any pay-out, but loses out if the delivery is unsuccessful.

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