A care leaver is an adult who has spent time living in the care system, away from their family, with a foster home, in a children’s home, in a supported housing service or under another arrangement as agreed by their social worker.
Young people usually leave care when they are 18 years old and whilst they are provided with accommodation, they often have no support to manage their tenancy, keep track of their bills, and stay in education and employment. At such a young age, it can be a challenge to juggle all these tasks without a safety net if things go wrong.
Many young people leaving care do so without the support of a loving family and the harsh reality for many is they enter adulthood alone. Where most other young people know they can rely on the support of family long after the age of eighteen, these young care leavers don’t have a “go to” family member they can ask for help or advice, even on simple things like how to change a plug.
The Christmas Dinner Middlesbrough & Teesside contacted TVCF to help fund their community project, which encourages people to support young care leavers in their community and give them the kind of Christmas Day they deserve.
“The aim is to encourage young care leavers who don’t have anywhere else to go, who don’t have anybody to spend the day with to come along and just have a good day and have a really positive experience,” said Jill Ambrazaitis, who is one of the organisers.
“Unfortunately, too many don’t have positive memories of Christmas and they struggle to relate the day with having a good time,” she said. “This can create a vicious cycle because you have a situation where if you’ve never had a good Christmas, and you have children of your own one day, how are you going to provide a good Christmas for them if you don’t know what it should look and feel like?”