Take part in sibling kinship care research

Your opportunity to tell your story about your experience of bringing up your younger brother or sister

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Most people know that families are not always two parents bringing up their children, and that, for lots of reasons, sometimes children are brought up by someone who isn’t their mother or father. What is less commonly known is that in some of these families, it is an older sister or brother who is the main carer for their younger sibling(s). In fact, one study found that in England in 2011, as many as 23% of relatives caring for children who weren’t their birth children were older siblings – that is 35,200 people! But despite this being the experience for a lot of families in the UK, very little is known about what it is like to be a carer for your sibling.

Who am I and why am I doing this research?

I became interested in sibling carers because I was a sibling carer for my younger brother, and when I started working in research, I realised there wasn’t really anything out there about families like mine. Lots of research about ‘kinship’ families focused on the experiences of grandparents. While that is very important, I felt like the stories of siblings would be different to those of grandparents and their grandchildren. So I applied for funding to explore this with other sibling carers.

Who can take part?

I am looking to interview people (18+) who live in the UK and have experience of being the main carer for their sibling. Your sibling should have been under 18 when they came to live with you, but don’t need to be under 18 now. It doesn’t matter how or why you became their main carer – I am interested in hearing all stories from different perspectives and experiences.

What is involved in participating?

If you decide you’d like to take part, you can get in touch and we will have an initial conversation about the research. If you choose to take part in an interview, you can decide where and when would be best for you – this can be in person, online, or on the phone. I will talk you through a task that you can complete before the interview to help you prepare. When we do the interview together, the main focus will be on your telling your story, so I won’t talk very much, and I will ask questions and give prompts that help you to tell me about your life. That means that the interview can take different amounts of time depending on how much you want to say, but it is usually about an hour.

What next?

You can take a look at the information sheet here which will give you more information about the research and taking part. If you think you might be interested, or would just like to know more, you can send me an email stablerl@cardiff.ac.uk.


This blog post was originally published by Lorna Stabler.

Look Say Sing Play

First-time mums have been sharing their experiences of parenthood during the pandemic as part of a newbrain-building campaign called Look Say Sing Play being launched in Cardiff and The Vale of Glamorgan to help parents support their baby’s development. Here, Emma Motherwell from the NSPCC explains the science behind the campaign.

Emma Motherwell
Emma Motherwell

Parents have faced a huge amount of time over the last 14 months with disruption to baby groups, soft play and access to playgrounds. Many we’ve spoken with have been left wondering the long-term impact this, and the reduced interaction with family and friends, will have had on their baby. 

‘It’s great having a baby and really fun, but it’s such hard work. We haven’t had a support bubble or anything, just my husband and I, Shepherd hasn’t even met any of my family yet so that’s been tough. I think things like not being able to have coffee mornings or baby classes has been really hard.’ – Helen from the Vale of Glamorgan is mum to 19-week-old Shepherd

At the NSPCC, our research shows how many parents and expectant parents are unaware that the interactions with their new baby in moments such as playing, singing or story time can be brain-building ones. Right from birth, every time a parent talks, sings and plays with their baby they aren’t just bonding – they’re helping to build their baby’s brain.

LSSP - lockdown poster

To help reassure parents and increase their confidence, at a time when the pandemic has placed additional pressures on families, NSPCC Cymru/Wales is launching its Look Say Sing Play campaign in partnership with Cardiff Council, The Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board,and Cymraeg for Kids project.

The baby brain-building campaign highlights to parents how their interactions with their new baby in every day moments can help with their development. Parents are encouraged to take a look at what their baby is focusing on and how they react, say what they are doing and copy the sounds their baby makes, sing along to their favourite tune or play simple games and see what their baby enjoys.

Helen from the Vale of Glamorgan trialling Look Say Sing Play
Helen with Shepherd

As the science of early brain development tells us, a child’s brain makes one million neural connections every single second and the back and forth- or serve and return- interactions encouraged via Look Say Sing Play help develop the building blocks of early brain development. These positive and supportive experiences with parents and carers help children learn how to control their emotions, cope with stress and learn new skills that serve as a foundation for later life.

Families have been piloting the campaign’s tips and activities and they’ve reported a change in their baby’s development and their own confidence as parents. 

‘For me there were some activities we hadn’t ever done before, there were some that we had done in singing and sign language classes, and there are some that you just naturally do. It was just clarifying you’re doing the right thing and what language to use as well with your baby and seeing what their reaction is too, which is really interesting. We fit the activities into our daily routine, so the activity around different emotions we’ll do when he’s in the bath if he’s getting a bit angsty. We’ve been doing the activities for a few weeks and it’s interesting to see how much he had progressed too, with skills such as grip and eye-contact.’ – Rebecca from Caerphilly is mum to six-month-old Owen

‘The science explaining how each activity is going to help his brain development or personal development was really reassuring and has definitely made me more confident playing with him. I would definitely recommend it. I think when you are a new parent a lot of things seem quite big and scary and new, but I think it’s reassuring that this is all very straightforward, there’s nothing complicated – you don’t have to be good at singing or anything. One of the things we learnt was a song where you have to smile at them and then do a sad face, and then do a sleepy face, and then something noisy. Knowing that that is actually developing his personal skills and increasing his emotional intelligence, that has really stuck in my head. I love learning that sort of thing and the more of that I know the more I am enjoying it.’ – Helen

We recently shared Look Say Sing Play with dozens of early years practitioners and health visitors across Cardiff and The Vale and the response so far has been fantastic. We hope our Look Say Sing Play campaign will help parents bond with their children and reassure them by sharing the science behind it. The tips are all about the fun you can have with what’s lying around the house, rather than creating an extra expense or adding to the list of things parents already have to do.

‘Look Say Sing Play is such a simple approach that parents I’ve worked with really responded well to. It’s great to talk to them about activities they can do easily, without the need for expensive toys, and help them understand how all the little things they do are building their baby’s brain. I’m looking forward to using this approach with more families and would highly recommend it to others.’ – Kathryn, a health visitor working in Cardiff

‘It’s great, because it’s so accessible for all families no matter their budget. The response has been really good from families both virtually and during home visits. With the home visit that I did the mum was actually quite surprised because her little boy usually flits between activities quite a lot and she was really surprised with how long he sat at that activity and engaged with it. One of the benefits of it is how simple it is. Sometimes with sessions we may have to take a big bag of various activities, whereas Look Say Sing Play is really simple and very effective.’ – Abigail Atkinson, an Early Years Practitioner for The Vale of Glamorgan Flying Start

‘Look Say Sing Play is a really useful tool we can use to talk about development, bonding, family relationships and having fun. It’s an easy way for families to support their baby’s development and have these lovely experiences with their children and it’s really easy to fit in our Flying Start programme. I think it’s been really beneficial and I’m definitely going to keep using it. There are so many lovely ways we can promote and role this out to our families and we’ve had some really positive responses from health professionals and families.’ – Donna, a health visitor for Cardiff Flying Start

Parents can sign-up to get weekly Look Say Sing Play tips via the NSPCC website. Each one will include a fun, age-appropriate tip which they can easily fit in to their daily routine.

Examples of the Look Say Sing Play activities

Eye gazing – take a few minutes and look into your child’s eyes. As they look back, smile and talk with them. Do what they do. If they blink, you blink. If they look left, you look left.

Adult and young child outside

The science bit – When your child looks at you, and you respond, they’re making new connections in their brain. When you look at each other and react to each other, the bond you have is growing stronger. 

Silly suds – tell your child “let’s wash your hands” but start washing their feet. What do they do? Then say “Oh! Those are your feet. Where are your hands?” As they get older, have them lead, using other parts of their body like elbows, wrists and ankles.

The science bit – your child is using their focus to listen to your words and drawing on what they already know to play this silly game with you, which will strengthen their memory. They’re also practicing thinking flexibly about opposites, as well as learning new words and what they mean in a fun way.

Father and child

Song traditions – there are things we do every day. Sing the same songs at those moments to explain what you’re doing with your child. Examples could be leaving a room, finishing eating, or washing hands.

The science bit – children love traditions. Singing about your shared daily moments add to the comfort of a known routine. It also helps your child connect these moments and new words. They love learning language from your sing-song voice.

Visit Look Say Sing Play for more information.

How gender stereotyping is failing boys at risk of child sexual exploitation

Lauren Hill and Clive Diaz from Cardiff University have carried out research into how gender stereotypes may impact on the support offered to young people who are at risk of child sexual exploitation. This blog provides a short summary of their findings. The full research paper can be downloaded below. 

As a result of high-profile cases in Rotherham and Rochdale in recent years, the general public is now more aware of what child sexual exploitation (CSE) is. CSE has also emerged as a key area of political and professional attention, and was even declared a national threat in 2015 by the Westminster coalition government. But historically, it remains a relatively new construct. Researchers have found that CSE may remain concealed in many cases as victims do not report their experiences, perhaps due to stigma, feelings of shame and/or fear, or because they do not identify their experience as exploitation and therefore do not recognise that they are a victim (Mason-Jones and Loggie, 2019).

Although the exact number of young people at risk of CSE remains unknown, Berelowitz et al. (2013) found that between August 2010 and October 2011, 16,500 children and young people in England were at ‘high risk’ of CSE. This estimate is in line with later statistics published by the Department for Education (2016). According to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOPC), the majority of known victims are aged 14 to 15 and ethnically white. Furthermore, numerous studies have found that the majority of known victims are female (CEOPC, 2013; Jay, 2014; Coy, 2016), with Hallett et al. (2019) finding that females are seven times more likely to experience CSE than males. 

Although genuine gender differences in CSE victimisation may exist, it is important to highlight that certain victim groups (such as males and those from minority ethnic groups) are likely to be under-represented within these figures as a result of barriers to reporting and accessing services. The identification of CSE by professionals may also be limited by the potential biases, prejudices and stereotypical beliefs they hold, which is something we explored in our research.

How gender stereotyping operates in practice

Practitioners rely on cognitive shortcuts (like stereotypes) in professional contexts, and research suggests this is just how humans work as stereotypes help individuals organise and simplify their social worlds. According to categorisation theory, first conceived by Allport (1954), the process of person perception involves subsuming individuals into the wider social categories (such as gender) to which they belong. In doing this, the stereotypical beliefs we hold about a particular social group are applied to all group members (Banaji et al., 1993). 

Stereotypical beliefs are developed via a process of socialisation. The socialisation process begins at birth, and involves exposure to gender norms, ideologies and stereotypes, which are transmitted within and between families, peers, wider social connections and culture (Carter, 2014). 

Are stereotypical beliefs keeping CSE victims hidden?

A number of comments given by participants in our study seem to back up previous research which found that practitioners are subject to unconscious biases within a professional context, and that this can influence factors such as decision-making and assessment (Kirkman and Melrose, 2014; Blumenthal-Barby and Krieger, 2015).

In 2013, researchers Berelowitz et al. (2013) collected qualitative data from 74 practitioners. The researchers found that practitioners often failed to identify male victims of CSE as they did not conform to their stereotypical beliefs that ‘only girls are subjected to these attacks’ (Berelowitz et al., 2013, p.56). The practitioners we interviewed indicated that they felt gender stereotypes may impact on how professionals work with victims of CSE. 

In particular, participants suggested that stereotypes about masculinity may lead practitioners to view males as less likely to be at risk of CSE and consequently less in need of protection and support. Participants felt that this can lead practitioners to be slower and/or less likely to identify males as victims of CSE, as well as less likely to provide male victims with effective support and intervention. Our findings also therefore align with the findings of McNaughton Nicholls, Harvey, and Paskell (2014), who found that practitioners often perceive males to be less vulnerable to CSE than females.

Despite being a small‐scale study, as the first study to specifically explore gender stereotypes within the context of CSE, this research project has contributed some new findings to the relatively underdeveloped evidence base in this area. 

How can we combat unconscious bias for better practice?

It has been suggested that one way to reduce the impact of gender stereotypes on practice is to provide practitioners with the opportunity to acknowledge and critically reflect upon these within a non-threatening and non-judgmental environment (Hannah and Carpenter-Song, 2013). Arguably, this reduces the likelihood of practitioners defending or denying their biases. This is important, as once practitioners have acknowledged their biases, they can subsequently develop strategies for reducing these (Teal et al., 2012).

The importance of critical reflection in overcoming biases was also highlighted by Munro (2011, p.90), who stated that ‘critical challenge by others is needed to help social workers catch such biases and correct them’. Munro (2011) recommended that critical reflection can best be achieved via discussions with others, for example, during supervision. 

An increased awareness of gender stereotypes can also be achieved through unconscious bias training, which aims to increase practitioners’ awareness of their unconscious biases and teach bias reduction strategies. Although there is a lack of research examining the effectiveness of UBT in social care settings, it has been found to be moderately effective in other professional contexts (Atewologun et al., 2018). 

We hope that by implementing such practices more readily, we can begin to overcome the gender-based discrimination in this area of practice to ensure that potentially hidden male victims of CSE can be discovered and supported so that all victims of CSE can be adequately safeguarded.

Download the report:

References

Allport, G. (1954). The nature of prejudice. London: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.
Atewologun, D., Cornish, T. and Tresh, F. (2018). Unconscious bias training: An assessment of the evidence for effectiveness. Manchester: Equality and Human Rights Commission. 
Banaji, M., Hardin, C. and Rothman, A. (1993). Implicit stereotyping in person 
judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(2), pp.272-281.
Berelowitz, S., Clifton, J., Firimin, C., Gulyurtlu, S. and Edwards, G. (2013). If only someone had listened: Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s inquiry into child sexual exploitation in gangs and groups. London: Office of the Children’s Commissioner.
Blumenthal-Barby, J. S. and Krieger, H. (2015). Cognitive biases and heuristics in medical decision making: A critical review using a systematic search strategy. Medical Decision Making, 35(4), pp.539-557.
Carter, M. (2014). Gender socialization and identity theory. Social Sciences, 3(2), pp.242-263.
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. (2013). Threat assessment of child sexual exploitation and abuse. London: Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. (2013). Threat assessment of child sexual exploitation and abuse. London: Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
Coy, M. (2016). Joining the dots on sexual exploitation of children and women: A way forward for UK policy responses. Critical Social Policy, 36(4), pp.572-591.
Department for Education. (2016). Characteristics of children in need: 2015 to 2016. London: Department for Education.
Hallett, S., Verbruggen, J., Buckley, K. and Robinson, A. (2019). ‘Keeping safe?’: An analysis of the outcomes of work with sexually exploited young people in Wales. Cardiff: Cardiff University.
Hannah, S. and Carpenter-Song, E. (2013). Patrolling your blind spots: Introspection and public catharsis in a medical school faculty development course to reduce unconscious bias in medicine. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 37(2), pp.314-339.
Jay, A. (2014). Independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham: 1997– 2013. Rotherham: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.
Kirkman, E. and Melrose, K. (2014). Clinical judgement and decision-making in children’s social work: An analysis of the ‘front door’ system. London: Department for Education.
Mason-Jones, A.J. and Loggie, J. (2019). Child sexual exploitation. An analysis of serious case reviews in England: Poor communication, incorrect assumptions and adolescent neglect. Journal of Public Health, pp.1-7. 
McNaughton Nicholls, C., Harvey, S. and Paskell, C. (2014). Gendered perceptions: What professionals say about the sexual exploitation of boys and young men in the UK. Ilford: Barnardo’s.
Munro, E. (2011). The Munro review of child protection: Final report. London: Department for Education. 

Help us make a difference to Youth Work in Wales

Our Journey

Youth Cymru is at the start of a new journey; much has changed over the last few months for all of us and as an organisation whose primary aim is to benefit the lives of young people we want to take action now to ensure the best outcomes for young people in Wales. Our current strategy needs renewing and this is an opportunity to ensure our future work reflect the future landscape, the context and needs of young people, youth workers and youth organisations in Wales.

We want to provide an opportunity for our members and partners to make sure we hear what you need and know what you think. We want to begin and continue a conversation that not only helps create and build our strategy but also creates positive momentum, futures and benefits for all young people and youth workers in Wales.

To use a hackneyed phrase “these are unprecedented times” and we need and want our work now and in the future to place our members, our partners and young people central to our activities, plans and work; we want to set new ambitions to ensure that we remain part of the solution to the problems that exists in these complex, uncertain and unsettling times.

We need your input

We are aware that many are facing very difficult circumstances right now, so while we’d like people to engage with our ongoing consultation there will be no proscribed way of doing this. We will be sending out questionnaires and invitation to workshops and seminars but would equally welcome a telephone call, email or communication through our social media.

Over the coming months, we will be creating multiple opportunities to continue the conversation about our future direction, our relationship with you our partners, members and colleagues and the work we need to do to support you. Help us to shape our new strategy for 2021 and beyond!

We invite you to take part in this period of development as much as you can; to begin the conversation please complete this questionnaire below and look out for forth coming invitations to attend our seminars and workshop

For more information, visit Youth Cymru.

Co-SPACE study report findings: Changes in children’s mental health symptoms

Co-SPACE study report findings: Changes in children’s mental health symptoms from March 2020 to Jan 2021

The latest report of the Co-SPACE study shows changes in children and young people’s mental health among the study sample up to and including January 2021. In the report, the focus is on the following mental health outcomes as measured by the Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). This is a well-validated behavioural screening questionnaire. It exists in several versions allowing both reporting by parents/carers (the focus of this report) and self-reporting by adolescents.

Key findings

Based on parent/carer reports within the Co-SPACE sample: 

Behavioural, emotional, and restless/attentional difficulties have increased again since the latest national lockdown was introduced in January. This was especially the case in primary school-aged children (4-10 years old).

Children with SEN/ND and those from low-income or single adult households have continued to show elevated mental health symptoms throughout the pandemic, with higher levels of behavioural, emotional, and restless/attentional difficulties. Not having a sibling was associated with higher levels of restless/attentional difficulties throughout the pandemic (but was not associated with differences in behavioural or emotional symptoms).

Visit the Co-SPACE website for further information about the study.

Walking Tall: Empowering children to share their views and be heard

Walking Tall is a three-year project from the Fostering Network in Wales that began in 2020. It works with primary school children in foster care and was commissioned by the Welsh Government as part of the Fostering Communities programme.

Using interactive activities, the project encourages staff and facilitators to think through how they can adopt a more participative approach when working with children and highlights the importance of co-production – working side by side with children, to empower them to share their views and be heard.

Walking Tall recognises that everyone involved in fostering has a vital contribution to make, in order to improve the quality of life for children and young people in care and their foster families. In this way, the project will help towards ensuring that children are involved in designing and delivering projects that will meet their own needs.

The purpose of Stage One was to develop creative play-based sessions, to find out how children like to engage digitally, and to invite them to advise on materials and activities for working with children in later stages of the Walking Tall Project.

In Stage One, children engaged in a number of creative activities including ‘Rock Star’ where they painted stones to represent things in their lives that make them feel happy. Children then discussed the strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches. They were also asked to generate ideas about what other activities they would like to see and what they felt is the best way for children to share their perspectives, experiences, and ideas.

Although the views of children were centralised, foster carers also contributed their views and perspectives on the project. One foster carer commented that completing creative activities with children ‘Kind of brings everyone together. It was really lovely and enjoyable’.

You can find out more in the project report.

The Fostering Network in Wales

@tfn_Wales wales@fostering.net

Boffey, M., Mannay, D, Vaughan, R. and Wooders, C. 2021. The Fostering Communities Programme – Walking Tall: Stage One Evaluation. Cardiff: The Fostering Network in Wales.

Thrive Magazine focuses on ‘healthy relationships’

Special edition of the young people’s Thrive Magazine focusing on ‘healthy relationships’

Last November, The Fostering Network in Wales, Young People’s Care Forum worked with Brook Charity to discuss and explore the importance of young people in foster care having healthy relationships with everyone around them – friends, family, their boyfriends and girlfriends and their foster carers. They shared their experiences and views to inform and develop this latest edition of the magazine. The magazine looks at how young people can take ownership of their relationships, whilst considering their values and being true to themselves. We want to say a big thank you to the young people involved!

Parent Talk Cymru

A new free helpline service for parents is now available: Parent Talk Cymru, provided by Action for Children

This service provides support for parents in Wales and offers parenting articles and an opportunity to speak to the service via live chat in English or Welsh. 

Down-to-earth parenting advice you can trust 

The new service is on hand to support parents when needed. You can browse articles on the most common parenting questions from our experts, or talk one-to-one with a qualified parenting coach about anything of worry. It’s all free, and no topic is too big, small, or embarrassing. 

1:1 chat 

Take advantage of the free and confidential live chat with a qualified parenting coach. We can talk about anything that supports family life, caring for children or managing your own wellbeing. Some parents get in touch to chat about their day or to talk about things they can’t tell anyone else.  

We’re available: 

  • 12:30-19:30 Monday 
  • 10:30-16:30 Tuesday 
  • 10:30-16:30 Wednesday 
  • 12:30-19:30 Thursday 
  • 09:30-16:00 Friday 

You may be also interested in the following articles:  

Covid-19: we can help

Concerned about Covid-19? You’re not alone. We’ve pooled practical advice on everything from family life to home schooling. Learn more… 

Emotional wellbeing  

Expert advice and activities to support children with their mental and emotional wellbeing. Learn more… 

Behaviour and learning 

Advice for supporting your child’s development and managing their behaviour. Learn more… 

Nutrition and healthy eating 

From breastfeeding, formula and weaning, to making healthy food choices and coping with fussy eaters, get expert tips on feeding your family. Learn more… 

Sleep 

Bedtime, naps, and the questions that keep us awake at night. Get sleep advice from our parenting coaches. Learn more… 

More information 

Visit Parent Talk Cymru for further information, where you can also subscribe to the Parent Talk Cymru newsletter.  

Care experience & culture: a digital archive

‘Care Experience & Culture, a Digital Archive’ is the first of its kind and will feature care experienced literature, spoken word and academic material

Dr Dee Michell and Miss Rosie Canning are delighted to announce a new digital archive Care Experience & Culture. The website will launch 11th April – via Zoom, which will coincide with Care Experience History Month. Invitations to the launch will include an invitation for people to let us know their favourite care-experienced characters represented in foster care, adoption, kinship care or residential settings. ‘We’d like people to join in and advise us on care experienced literature, film, theatre, television, radio and academic material that can be included.’

Although there are occasional ‘success stories’ in the media about care-experienced people, in the main a single story is told about this group, ie, that they are over-represented in the prison, mental ill-health and homeless populations.

Children and young people in social care, and those who have left, are often subject to stigmatisation and discrimination. Being stigmatised and discriminated against can impact negatively on mental health and wellbeing not only during the care experience but often for many years after too.

The project aims to contribute towards changing community attitudes towards care-experienced people as a group. Instead of only being seen through the current single lens (that they are over-represented in the prison, mental ill-health and homeless populations), they will be seen as a creative group, despite (and/or because of) often experiencing hardship and trauma.

Rosie Canning (UK) and Dee Michell (Australia) are scholars with lived experience of care and a lifelong passion for books. They’ve experienced many benefits from reading as a pastime and are aware of the historical representations of care experience over time. Both are influenced by Lemn Sissay’s Origin Stories and Superman was a Foundling exhibition at The Foundling Museum in London. Rosie and Dee are collaborating to develop a Digital Archive, a one-stop accessible site with information about care-experienced characters in fiction and on-screen, as well as care-experienced writers, artists and actors.

For children and young people in care, and their carers, social workers, teachers, and so on, Care Experience & Culture will provide a significant source of material to which children and young people can be directed for characters they can relate to. As Ryan McCuaig who was in care has said, characters like Harry Potter are for those who’ve left care too. He was in his twenties when a conversation with another care-experienced person about Harry Potter made him realise that he “was already part of something bigger” whereas he’d often struggled with not fitting in.

There are many other care-experienced characters the sector may not be aware of but which will be found in the Digital Archive.

Care Experience & Culture will be a boon to educationalists and researchers too. Researchers could, for example, select characters other than Harry Potter and run research projects to find out how children and young people are affected by them. They can also analyse representations of care experience over time and in different fora.

Jamie Crabb, Psychotherapist and care-experienced, will advise on the design and maintenance of the website. Rosie and Dee, would like to thank the The Welland Trust, a charity founded by Jan Rees OBE in 2019, for the financial contribution they have made which has enabled Care Experience & Culture to be launched.  Sarah Saunders a Trustee from the Welland Trust said “we are proud to support the development of such a creative and exciting project that we believe will be of great benefit to many people”. Welland Trust supports projects and initiatives that benefit adults who have experienced care.

How to find us:
Email: careexperienceandculture@gmail.com
Twitter: @CareExp_Culture
Facebook: Care Experience & Culture
Website: 11th March preview and overview of what will be on offer

Taking Hold of Our Heritage: the digital book

This post was provided by Leicestershire Cares.

This book project gave the narrative power back to care-experienced young people so they can tell the stories they want heard about their lives. Care-experienced young people are often required to talk about their traumatic past to professionals, support services and sometimes their peers. Telling the same stories over and over again can start to imprint on their identity and heritage. Young people in care often move several times which can result in photographs and family keepsakes being misplaced and lost.

This project aimed to encourage care-experienced young people to reflect on positive memories to change the narrative they tell about their lives, and recreate their own heritage artefacts. In this book, care-experienced young people have investigated the complex nature of their identity through this project and produced an archive of artefacts including oral histories, art and photovoice.

The young people have investigated the memories and experiences of Leicestershire’s leaving care community, by looking at themselves, but also interviewing and documenting other care-experienced young people’s lives.

The Taking Back Our Heritage project is funded through the Y Heritage project, Leicester, which is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s pioneering “Kick the Dust” funding programme.

The digital book is available for download.