New dates, times and venues for the next set of regional Care Leaver network meetings in Leeds, London and Manchester
If you need advice, support, guidance or just someone to talk then please come along to the meeting closest to you. The meetings are relaxed, informal get-togethers providing a chance to socialise and meet other care leavers. They are an opportunity to find out more about the CLA and see what opportunities there are for getting more involved in care leaver issues. For example, access to childhood care records, education, employment, training, housing, current leaving care provision, the needs of adults with care experience and the needs of care leavers in the criminal justice system.
South East Network Meetings (London)
Thursday 25th September 7 – 9pm
Public transport – Leicester Square Northern Line, Piccadilly Line.
Yorkshire & Humber Network Meetings (Leeds)
Public Transport – All Buses to the University 1, 28, 56, 95, 96, 97 from Leeds City Centre ask the driver for the ‘Eldon Pub’ just after the University clock tower.
As usual, the meetings are only for people who have been in care as a child. However, if you need or want to come with a family member or some other person for support then they, too, are always most welcome. Also as usual, we will have tea, coffee and biscuits available – including some home-made ones! – and we will have time, such as breaks, for people to just socialise.
North West Network Meetings (Manchester)
Public Transport – from Piccadilly Station take the free bus and ask for Princess Street/Mosley Street.
New dates and venues added all the time so keep an eye on the website
Here are some comments of those who have come along to meetings and what they get from coming along:
From a female care leaver in her 40’s
Thank you for setting up the CLA meeting, it’s like a gift from the gods, i personally really needed it and to have gone all my life without meeting another care leaver has been very isolating, i have travelling problems so to have it on my doorstep was also brilliant. I shall definitely be attending them again!
Again a BIG Thank you!”
From a male care leaver just turned 21 and just left care
I just wanted to thank you all for the meeting. I really din’t exspect what happened it helped so much just being in the presence of people who have been through what I am facing and I treasure yours words. It’s great to relate to someone about this stuff. Thank you, I looked forward to seeing you all again, but untill then peace be with you all. Thank you.
Hope to hear from you all soon. X”
A care leaver who attends both the Brighton and London meetings (a now retired businessman)
The Brighton meeting was so positive that if the same enthusiasm can be generated for the London meeting, I cannot see why, given time and effort, all the meetings cannot be successful. We must try and encourage.
Stay positive [The CLA] – your enthusiasm is an encouragement to us all.
London network meeting member who engages in conversation through the email group
I understand what you are saying that the children you are in homes or fostered with do become like a family. I remember having fond memories of some of them and wonder how they are now. Though when you move on to different places you do not think as a child to keep in touch with them. All the feelings of moving on and what the new place will be like gets in the way. And plus for me, I expected not to keep in touch.
And the staff, well they were doing their job (or not). I became more closer to the other children than any of the staff or key/social workers. I expected them to leave after a while which they did. You were born a year before me so we would of had similar experiences as to the care system at that time.
It is an interesting experience to be in care, I have accepted that what was meant to be for me. It hurts at times, though with that hurt comes the healing process also.
I am understanding that these meetings are not for everyone, some may prepare to ignore or keep these things to themselves.
I know for me it was a new concept and I was uncomfortable at first, though getting past that first initial step it is nice to be in contact with others who have also been in the care system.
It all has to start small at first then it was grow, though often smaller groups of people do more than hundreds to make changes.
It is just getting to those people who have been in care, to realise that these groups exist.
It would actually be interesting to meet other care leavers from other areas of the UK.
As you mentioned about what others said in the Brighton meeting, it is not usual to meet other care leavers who are willing (to some extent) to be open about their experiences to help others. I have found that the experiences of being in care is like locking it up in a safe somewhere, though it does help to share.
I am still undecided to whether to look at my past care files.
All the best in your endeavour, if I can help in any way I will.
Care leaver who is in touch with the networking project, but due to work is unable to attend
Apologies for not attending the last meeting, it is in no way an indication of my commitment and willingness to be involved.
As im sure you already know, the nature of my work is a highly unpredictable one, but do continue to drop me emails about whats going on and the meetings ect.
I will try my best to come if i can.
Care leaver from the South West keen to be involved and demonstrating the need
Hi Darren,im […],im 52,and i live in Plymouth,im afraid ill not be able to attend the Brighton meeting its a bit too far for me,and this is the exact reason i feel it would be beneficial to have a centre in Plymouth representing Devon. I could make meetings at Cornwall though, i look forward to hearing from you,or maybe you would call me
Care leaver in her 60’s demonstrating the meetings are accessible to all
My experience is so far from those just leaving care. Our experiences were very different but it’s amazing how we go through similar emotions and problems dealing with the whole thing. We weren’t given any money and College or university were out of the question but we had access to residential jobs or hostels that were available to everybody. I don’t think we were expected to live alone in a flat. Some may have lodged with awful landladies so that we had some sort of stepping stone into the wide world. I can’t say which is the better way, but that isn’t a constructive way of looking at things. I’ll just say that I am happy to help in facilitation of meetings so I can be of some use.
Care leaver from the London network meeting
I said I would email you with some feedback about the London meeting. Sorry its a bit delayed. I will say that for me what I get out of the meetings is kind of difficult to to say precisely, other than a sense of being with others with similar, although not exactly the same experiences.
I also feel that you personally have ‘hosted’ that last two meetings fantastically and have managed to keep things relevant and on point. What I mean by that is that I appreciate and welcome that the meetings are open ended. I believe you have done a good job in keeping things fairly balanced.
So for me I like the fact that we can contribute about anything care-related. I also feel I’ve learnt about things too for example the prison stuff which is outside my experience and ‘celebrities’ like Morissey. I have to admit that at the end of both meetings I had a feeling of wanting to continue.
From a care leaver in her 20’s, a practising social worker who attends the Manchester network meetings
I arrived late but [The CLA] made me welcome and . . . It was relaxed. We had a shared experience and the subject matter would have been difficult to contribute to if you were not a care leaver. I have been to two meetings . . . and everyone had a lot of issues they wanted to be dealt with.
These are just a few of the comments made by care leavers of all ages and backgrounds who attend the network meetings.