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Valuing the wisdom of lived experience

Nerys Anthony, Catch22’s Director of Alternative Delivery, uses Care Day 2018 to celebrate the voice of those with lived care experience.

16 February 2018

At Catch22 we are proud to run the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum (NLCBF), supporting Local Authorities to share best practice, to widen and deepen their ambitions for those leaving care.

Having recently taken the NLCBF under my wing, I never fail to be impressed by the relentless challenge and positivity that the team bring – and I am inspired by the possibility of what we can achieve together for those leaving care. Their work with professionals is underpinned and informed by the Young People’s Benchmarking Forum – where young people are invited to share, support and motivate each other to drive change in their localities.

Following a successful funding submission to the Department of Education Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, I am privileged to be leading Catch22’s work to re-design the leaving care service in the London Borough of Southwark. We have formed a partnership to make this happen, comprising the council, Catch22 and crucially the young people themselves. The participation of those with lived care experience drives our work. We value the individual experience of Southwark’s young people, and celebrate that we can have open and honest conversations about the support they received. With an eye to the future we know that together we can develop and redesign support to improve outcomes for Southwark’s care leavers.

To illustrate the importance of valuing and hearing the wisdom that those with lived care experience can give, I always think about what one young person recently said to me about her involvement:

“It’s important is because we’ve had first-hand experience. I wouldn’t go to someone and be like, ‘oh you’re not a mechanic but please fix my car!’”

I think that says it all. On #careday I’m celebrating those with lived care experience by giving them a voice, and committing to continue to involve and evolve how we work together in the future.