Local businesses, charities, universities and public sector organisations came together at King’s as Southwark launched its Care Leavers Covenant.
Aiming to create a level playing field for care-experienced young people, the Covenant calls on local employers and businesses to support care leavers to live independently.
Organisations can offer a range of help and opportunities including employment, education and training support, access to health, or financial and housing advice and support.
Student Michelle Sebele, who grew up in care and is now studying Medicine at King’s, addressed local businesses, HE institutions and charities at the event. She said: 'It has been immensely inspiring to be a part of the launch of Southwark’s Care Leaver Covenant. Hearing about the aims and current partnerships in the works has been reassuring to know that the voices of care-experienced young individuals are being heard.'
King’s has a tailored offer for care-experienced applicants, including 52 weeks a year accommodation, pre-entry support and tailored entry requirements.
Anne-Marie Canning, Director of Social Mobility and Student Success at King’s, said: 'We have a comprehensive package of support for care-experienced applicants to King’s but we know we achieve more for young people when we work together. The Care Leaver Covenant launch is an important milestone in boosting the opportunities and support available to care leavers in our local community of Southwark.'
Francis, a Southwark care leaver who spoke of his experiences at the event, said: 'There are many ways in which we, as care leavers, are pre-judged because of a lack of understanding. That’s why it was so amazing to see so many people come together to launch the Covenant and find out what they can do to make a real difference to young people leaving care.'
Cllr Jasmine Ali, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Adult Care, said: 'For too long children in care have suffered a double blow, often having a difficult start to life and then not having the help they need to succeed in adulthood. We are a borough filled with innovation and opportunity, and so we are asking everyone to think about what they can offer to give a young person that first step on the ladder, or a helping hand to progress in their career.'
Find out more about the Care Leaver Covenant online.