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Strong Partnerships: Superdrug & Drive Forward

In January 2020, Superdrug became an official partner of Drive Forward, and provided placement opportunities in key roles across head office and pharmacy.

2019 saw the start of this rewarding partnership. We kicked off by attending a couple of ‘Interview Prep & Pizza’ events with members of Superdrug’s Access All Areas social mobility network, which was a fantastic introduction to the initiative.

Modupe’s Story. Joining the Civil Service

Thinking back to your early 20s, did you know what you wanted to do with your life? For young people coming out of care, the years between their 18th and 25th birthday are pivotal. Before their local authority closes their case forever, these young people have to make sure that they are financially, emotionally, and practically stable. That means having a secure place to live, sufficient income, and a support network. However, actually making those decisions that will impact one’s life in the long-term is not an easy task.

From Care to Career – it’s not always a straight line

“Young people who are in or about to leave local authority care are often vulnerable, isolated, more likely to suffer with mental health issues, and face bigger barriers when trying to find work. Helping a supporting a young man like Darnell who has had so many obstacles, and challenges in life and not always made the best decision for himself but is so positive, and determined to overcome them you just can’t help but admire and want help, and it has been a real privilege and pleasure. Young men like him are great examples to others, he has a great attitude and I hope the small opportunity we have given him will help him to go on a achieve his goals” Matthew Weatherby, Social Value Manger at Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd

We all have a right to good mental health

You undergo many changes when transitioning from foster child to care leaver when you turn 18. Social workers turn into PAs (Personal Advisors). You are expected to rely on the welfare state if not in employment or student loans and grants if you are at university. You also grow up extremely quickly. By the age of 19, I had my own flat and was living alone.

It was shortly after moving in that I had my first mental health breakdown. Due to moving ‘out of borough’, the therapies that I had waited a year to access were stopped at my most vulnerable point. Since I was a new patient in that area, it meant that I had to join the back of the queue for help all over again

Deaf and in Care. Insights, experiences and advice

Deafness is something that is not talked about a lot, especially not in the context of the care system; the support available in residential homes or foster families. To learn more about the issue and how it impacts on care-experienced young people’s lives, we took the opportunity to speak to Linn, a care-experienced young person from London.

Linn and I have been working together on Drive Forward Foundation’s Breakthrough Programme, an initiative aimed at young people in care with the aim of enabling them to progress personally and professionally as they prepare for adulthood.

From Care to Career – the long way to sustainable employment

I am number 4 of 5 children my mother had with my father. My father had 13 children in total of which I was number 9. My mother made the decision for me to come and live with family friends in England as a bid to give me a ‘better life’ based on my family circumstances at the time. I came to England in 2002 and I lived in South London with this family for almost 8 years. The first 4 years of living with them, I was not allowed out of the house and was not allowed traditional education but was merely acting as the family’s live-in au-pair. I endured countless amounts of physical, emotional and mental abuse whilst living with the family.

I had no friends and no family to confide in. As I got older, I could not take it anymore which led to me running away and reporting my situation to the police. The police introduced me to Merton social services who supported me for most of my early adult years from 2010 until I finished university in 2019.

Care leavers with refugee status – the limiting factor of the status

When children or young people (under the age of 18) come to the UK on their own, with no family to look after them in this country, then the state becomes responsible for them; they go into care. Their immigration background, however, often leaves them facing continuous difficulties in accessing state benefits, education and employment, even after they leave care. This issue is particularity pressing for those whose status is uncertain or temporary.

Remembering Stephen Lawrence: Interview with Bebert Longi

On 22 April 1993, the country was shocked by the murder of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence in an unprovoked, racist attack. The subsequent investigation, and public enquiry highlighted the structural and systemic racism across the country.

Here at Drive Forward we would like to honour this year’s Stephen Lawrence Day by highlighting how having a supportive network, opportunity to grow and develop can provide lifelong, blended learning and development opportunities for care experienced young professionals.

We interviewed Drive Forward young person Bebert Longi about how he overcomes challenges and what he would like to ask Stephen Lawrence if he had the chance to speak with him.

Will Brexit create a new ‘Windrush generation’?

Care-experienced young people from the EU who have not had applications made on their behalf to remain in the UK after Brexit are at risk of becoming “undocumented” adults. After 30th June 2021, these people will find themselves living in the UK unlawfully, without the right to work, claim benefits, rent a home, hold a bank account, access further education, and could face deportation.

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