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VT young people inform the Life Changes Trust

We're proud to have been asked by the Life Changes Trust Project to manage a consultation with a group of young people who had been in care. Care leavers - aged 18-25 from across Scotland - were asked to debate how they would allocate £25 million in a way that would improve the experience of young people leaving care, and help them to make a successful transition to independent living.

Venture Trust held a consultation session at Applecross in November 2011, allowing the group of young people time and space to compare and contrast their experiences. Many reported difficulty accessing suitable housing, getting into employment or educational programmes and all expressed difficulty in achieving financial independence. There were some strong recurring themes and a lot of positive aspirational debate with many of those consulted expressing a strong motivation to volunteer to improve the condition of those who formed their ‘constituency’; future generations of looked after young people leaving care.

By the end of the four-day consultation, the group had agreed on headlines thoughts on how the money should be spent and how they would shape services. Although there were many and varied suggestions, the following were the views shared by all or many. These are not in order of priority, but form a list of common agreement.

  1. The establishment of single point access to services
  2. The establishment of a Peer Mentoring/ Professional Friend network
  3. The establishment of early, quality care leaver preparation and life skills training
  4. The establishment of peer networks
  5. The establishment of a ‘constituent forum’ to inform policy monitor the Life Changes Trust and have a voice

The group worked hard and enthusiastically on preparing their proposal. They took on this responsibility with a serious and workmanlike approach and remained committed to this consultation over a period of four long days. They will continue to work with the Life Changes Trust to shape this project longer-term.

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