If you have been in care for 13 weeks, without a break, and are in care on or after your 16th birthday, you have the right to various services. Our leaving care advisors will support you through your leaving care journey, until the age of 25.
- Support with housing
- Appoint a personal Leaving Care Advisor
- Assess your needs and provide support accordingly
- Prepare a Pathway Plan and review this regularly to reflect changes in your circumstances
- Contribute to the cost of living associated with studying at university including paying for non term-time accommodation
- Help with the cost of travelling to training or college
- Help to access bursaries to which you are entitled
- Advice and guidance on decisions for your future
Your Leaving Care Advisor will help you to access the relevant services that affect your life such as:
- Financial support
We will give you financial help for education/training and employment purposes.
- A Higher Education grant of up to £2000 for the duration of your course, payable in instalments after successful completion of each term
- We are responsible for your accommodation during term breaks. This could include ‘staying put’ with a previous carer or family member, payment of rent in private accommodation or your own tenancy
- We help you access a vulnerable pupil bursary if you are at college or other similar educational institutions in England
- We will help you with the cost of buying suitable clothing for work related and employment opportunities if you show commitment and proactivity towards employment and training
- If you live independently will provide you with an allowance to maintain your apprenticeship, training or education in line with your Pathway Plan. We will recognise your achievement with an incentive including a free bus pass to your place of work or education
- If your work requires specific clothing, equipment or qualifications, we will provide financial assistance to enable you to access these, this includes the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
We always like to recognise the achievements of young people in Reading.
Read some inspiring stories of care leavers we are celebrating for National Care Leavers Week 2020:
Being taken into care when you’re young can make the world a confusing place - from trying to understand what’s happened to you, what you’ve just experienced and witnessed, to working out who you really are and where you belong.
For one of our Reading care leavers, this journey took place during their teenage years.
Already facing the various challenges that come from transitioning from childhood to adolescence; making new friends, being exposed to different people from various backgrounds, on top of dealing with the experience they’d just encountered, they then had the courage to take on an even harder journey.
Instead of going through life living with something that didn’t feel right, they recognised who they were and who they wanted to be and made the brave decision to transition to the opposite gender.
This is a difficult decision and journey for anyone to go through, never mind when there is limited support around you.
Alongside managing this transition, our care leaver continued to do well at school, achieving brilliant GSCE grades and A-levels and is now studying hard at university.
We’re immensely proud of how this care leaver conducted themselves through the journey of change, being true to themselves and following what they felt was right, even with the knowledge that not everyone may agree or understand their decision.
They made important life choices, had the courage and determination to stick with them and through all this, headed off to university to start a new life.
They should be incredibly proud of themselves and we wish them all the best in their fantastic future ahead!
It’s a big achievement for anyone to go to university but for young people who have been in care, it’s even bigger.
Nationally, only 6% of care leavers make it to university, with many of them dropping out during their studies.
Unfortunately, the many obstacles they encounter, on top of dealing with any emotional trauma, can be a journey that’s too difficult for them to continue with.
We’re therefore delighted when any of our Reading care leavers fulfil their aspirations, demonstrating drive and motivation to secure the required grades and move onto their chosen degree.
This is exactly what one of our care leavers who we’re celebrating did.
She worked tirelessly at school, studying all hours and never losing sight of her ambition to go to university, and then successfully completing her degree.
Along the way, as well as focusing on her studies, she juggled her time being an attentive and loving mother, caring for her young child and working part-time to provide and maintain their home.
Without the same support many young people have, she balanced her life over the last three years, dealing with all that life threw at her in a mature and adult way and picking herself back up when things got difficult.
As if that’s not impressive enough, she’s now taking her studies even further, starting a Master’s degree so she can move onto her chosen career to support others who are in need of help in life too. And of course, working part-time and continuing to be a wonderful mum!
A truly remarkable and amazing person - we are extremely proud of her achievements and know that she is too.
Well done for making your dream happen even though your journey in life has been a difficult one!
Young people in care often face a lack of security, reliability and stability in their lives. Without support from family, many of them then struggle to adapt to independent life, with around one third of care leavers becoming homeless because of the challenges they face.
Imagine not having your family or friends for support and coming from a background where adults let you down and you find it hard to form trusting relationships. With no-one to turn to, you might make some wrong choices, turn your back on support and find yourself in an ever-more hopeless and helpless situation.
This is exactly where one of our care leavers from Reading found himself when he hit rock bottom.
After spending his time homeless, our care leaver could have simply accepted that this is now his life. However, he was determined that he wanted to break the cycle of his difficult lifestyle and turn things around.
He fought hard to get his life back on track, mostly on his own and even with the inevitable setbacks along the way, he continued to pick himself up and move forward.
It’s incredible how he has managed to turn his life around. He has gone from struggling and living on the streets alone, to now living in rented accommodation with his girlfriend, providing for his family and being a father to his child.
He continues to move forward with his life and not look back, wanting only what’s best for himself and, more importantly for his child. His achievements are really something to be proud of.