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National Care Leavers' Week

Explaining our input – working in a different way

This week is the first National Care Leavers' week since the Shine service launched in July 2023. Although, this is a week that not everyone knows about it is now an important date on the Shine calendar. A time of reflection on the year just gone.

Shine is at the beginning of a journey that will put and keep care leavers and care experienced young people at the centre of all that we do. It is these young people’s stories and journeys that make the Shine service. Without them we would be another ‘service led’ intervention, meaning that Shine Supporters would be led by strict sets of criteria, pre-determined goals, and boxes to tick.

During meetings where we look at new referrals, we often read service led language, like needs support with finances, NEET needs help to find employment or has anger issues. We understand that supporting young people into employment, improving their well-being and self-determination skills are our aims but we will always start with the young person’s journey.

This means investing time in getting to know our young people, giving young people time, starting from where they are at, finding their strengths and interests to form a connection and provide support.

Sharing our outcomes

The team want to share and celebrate some examples of Shine’s strengths and interest focused work with care leavers and care experienced young people.

Barnaby says:

“I went on a home visit last week, to see a care leaver who I have been supporting since the service launched. He casually said, ‘I got myself a job, I start on Monday’.

We haven’t spent much time talking about employment or his CV and when we have, he is often quick to change the subject (or cancel the visit!). I do know that he enjoys music, performing arts and that he likes to cook. Spending time talking about these things has really increased his confidence, and he told me a couple of weeks ago he is now more confident and motivated to do things that are not about looking popular.”

A young person back in employment but not through a CV workshop or training program.

Another of our care leavers is starting from a very different place but is taking the first steps towards expanding his possibilities by reconnecting with an old hobby. After working with his Shine Supporter around his strengths and interests he has started drawing again for the first time in years. He said ‘No social worker [sic] has ever asked me about what I enjoy until you’. He also agreed that I could share one of his drawings.

Two very different outcomes but both as equally rewarding and of equal importance to these two amazing young people.

If you would like to know more about Shine, visit the Young People section of our website.

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