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Believing in young people: Harley’s story

This content is sponsored by Barnardo's

This content is sponsored by Barnardo's

18-year old Harley from Birmingham went into care with her two younger sisters when she was just six years old. Right now, she’s about to leave care.

Harley

Harley tells us about some of her hopes for the future and how she’s working with Barnardo’s to help make life better for other young care leavers.

Q: Hi Harley, can you tell us what your experience of growing up in care has been like?
A: I’ve been with my current foster carers for the past 10 years and they have been amazing – the best carers I could have asked for. They offered me stability, love and support.

Q: Is there anything about leaving care that you are worried about?
A: I’m ready to leave the care system now and want to have my own independence. However I think the biggest challenge or worry for me – and perhaps other care leavers – is the loneliness.
Other people take company for granted. Care leavers often struggle financially and can’t always afford the transport costs to visit their mates. It can be lonely for them sat alone in their flat without real human contact. And lockdown has made it even harder for a lot of care leavers like me who were already feeling isolated.

Q: How did you cope on your own during lockdown?
A: It was a bit difficult with money to begin with because I was at home the whole time so I had to spend more money on electricity and that kind of thing. But, in general, after that it’s been the new norm really. My foster parents have been helping me so it’s been alright. I also got a laptop with support from Barnardo’s, so now I can do my college work. Lockdown is okay.

38% of Barnardo’s staff who support care leavers have reported that their main concerns are their lack of social interaction, isolation and loneliness.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: The experiences I had when I was younger have helped me become who I am today. And that’s why I want to be a foster carer for Barnardo’s. I want to support other young people the way I was supported through everything.

Q: Can you tell us about the work you’re doing with Barnardo’s?
A: There used to be youth centres for care leavers in Birmingham but I don’t think there is a single one left now. As part of a care leaver project with Barnardo’s, I’m hoping to change that. I’m also going to be training Barnardo’s staff so they can better understand LGBTQ+ issues.

Q: Do you have any other personal ambitions or dreams?
A: As well as being a foster carer I want to also join the Royal Navy as a reservist. I’ve always wanted to join one of the Armed Forces and I chose the Navy because I absolutely love the sea. I also love cooking so I’d love to be a chef on a submarine.

Find out how you can help young people like Harley

 A gift in your Will is a special way to mark the experiences that shape you – and pass on the gift of childhood to future generations.

Thanks to your wonderful support, Barnardo’s is there for young people like Harley all over the UK who are leaving care and beginning their journey into adulthood.

This content is sponsored by Barnardo's

Last modified: September 7, 2021

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