According to the Department for Education there are 72,000 children in England who are adopted or in foster care, a number which continues to rise.
In 2016 Regenda Homes opened its first care leavers accommodation for people aged 16 to 21 who had recently left care. It provides a stepping stone for young people to move on and live independently.
Based in Wirral, the care leavers accommodation provides three self-contained apartments with staff available onsite 24 hours a day. Staff work with the residents and provide a tailored support plan to help them realise and achieve their aims, goals and aspirations.
Abbey, 18, has been a resident since February 2018. Abbey has lived in several different foster homes throughout her childhood and was in her last foster home for five years, before her foster parent decided it was time for her to move out.
Abbey’s Social Worker had heard about Regenda’s care leaver service and recommended it to her. Abbey said: “I’m so glad I moved in. I now feel more settled.
“It’s really good, it’s different here. They’re very good at making you more independent. They support me, but they encourage me to be more responsible. When you’re 17 or 18 you think you know and can do everything, but you need that bit of extra support.
“My favourite thing about living on my own is that I can cook whatever I want. I can have my friends around and just chill”.
Diane Emisson, Supported Housing Manager at Regenda Homes, said: “Our care leavers service is important to help young people find their feet. It gives them a safe, secure place where they can learn vital skills to help them move on to independent living.
“There are so many young people who need this kind of support and we are hoping to get funding to open more places like this across the North West”.
The National Audit Office found 41% of care leavers were not in education, employment or training, and only 6% went to University (compared to 33% of all 19 year olds).
Abbey, however, is already set on her career path: “I’m doing a welding course and I want to go to University. I wanted to find something I really enjoy and stick with that.
“I’m also part of a Care Leavers Council where young people help to give a whole new perspective on what it’s like to be a child in care.
“This time next year I want my own place, a car and a pet.”
To find out more about Regenda Homes’ care leavers service, visit regenda.org.uk