Can you help to support care leavers in Sussex?

What care leavers tell us they need help with

We want to make sure that the charity’s aims align with what care leavers in Sussex want and need. We spoke to care leavers in Brighton & Hove to find out more about them, their interests and what they feel they could use a bit more help with.

Here’s what they told us…

Bianca, 21, said: “When I was younger I got put into foster care and then adopted which also broke down.

“I have always played football. In care it was hard to keep up with that as I was always here there and everywhere.

“I got quite far in football, playing at county level. I’d love to do a scholarship in America or an academy!”

But she said even if she got a scholarship, there are living costs to think about too.

“Other people have family and support to pay for it,” said Bianca.

“It’s really difficult for anyone being in the care system  And especially when you are without a family.”

Sonnel, 21, is studying business at the University of Brighton and runs a business throwing events for the record label he has started

He also lives with his girlfriend who he has helped start her own business upcycling furniture.

“I came from Malaysia and I grew up in the jungle,” he said. “Mum lived in the jungle for seven years. She passed away and I got put into care when I was in Year 7. I was moved around from family to family. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.

“I had a really bad experience with one. Things got so bad, I was separated from my sisters. I was doing a lot of drugs, I was a lost soul in my early teens when my mom passed away, I didn’t really have anything.

“I found work and working helped me to cope. I got on the right path.

“I think Beyond will be good to get access to low-interest loans and to use that money to invest.”

Hollie, 21, explained how she was in and out of foster care as a child, and that she was in a children’s home before finding a long-term foster carer.

“I did not have the best experience in the children’s home. That is when I found my long-term foster carer,” Hollie said.

“The time came when I was a bit older, I was about to go into Year 11. I’d moved back with my mum, but I put myself back into foster care to get through school. On Beyond, she said: “I felt like some kids have got that financial set up from their parents. It’s just there and available to them.”

“It is so nice that this is on offer.”

On what grants could be used for, Hollie said:

“Just general things that parents would step in with like driving lessons.

“It gives you peace of mind that there is that support available.”

Shane, 20, is a trained chef and is currently doing a music course at Brighton Youth Centre.

When asked what he thinks grants from Beyond could be used for, he said: “Driving lessons. I don’t have that kind of money to pay for driving lessons or a car.”

On his future aspirations, he said: “When I’m 35 I’d love to run my own restaurant.”

Tasha, 19, said: “I work part time in a retail establishment. I’m looking for full time work. Some time in the next few months I plan to move out.

“I’ve lived in the same foster placement for the last eight years now. When I was 10 I got moved around in care.”

On her aspirations, Tasha said: “To be living on my own independently. I hope to go back to college to study graphic design.”

On Beyond, she said: “I think it’s definitely needed as social care only helps at a certain time. It cuts off at 25 then you have no other support.”

Saskia, 21, said: “I think it is a really good idea. I thought I would apply for my driving lessons.

“I have saved up quite a lot of money. If I can apply for the driving lessons, the money I’ve saved could go towards a car.”

Saskia is studying beauty and is trained in applying false eyelashes but said she wants to get on the road so she can start up a mobile eyelash business.

“Driving could help with getting more clients for eyelashes.”