Care leavers - get your voice heard and events for you

There are so many amazing opportunities for care leavers to get involved in. Find out more below about what is available to you, and if anything you read interests you, or you want to get involved, simply send your name and preferred contact details to care.council@surreycc.gov.uk

Care Leavers' Forum

Launched in June 2020, the Care Leavers' Forum is a new group for young people aged 18+ and is an open space for them to talk about any issues they may be facing, access support services, influence service delivery and meet other young people who may be in similar situations to them. To find out more about the Care Leavers' Forum, check out our new trailer on the UVP YouTube channel here.

The Care Leavers' Forum has now begun a return to face to face session, and will be taking place on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 12 October between 5pm and 7pm
  • Monday 29 November between 5pm and 7pm
  • Save the Date! The looked after children and care leavers Christmas party will be taking place Friday 17 December. Further details about the Christmas party will be released in due course

Venue details will be sent to young people once they confirm their attendance. Dates and times maybe subject to change. For more information and to get involved, please email care.council@surreycc.gov.uk.

Here is what young people have said about attending the group:

  • "The session was really good. I thought I would be nervous, but my confidence has grown and will continue to grow the more I attend".
  • "Everyone was really friendly and was open with their experiences which helped me to open up".
  • "The group has pushed me to have conversations with people in the same position - it's refreshing".

User Voice and Participation

Your voice is important and changing the system around you is something you can be a part of. The User Voice and Participation (UVP) are a team of service users who support young people to get involved with improving the services they use. The team and groups work closely together to listen and support each other and provide an outlet to make a change.

Groups take part in consultations, service re-designs and deliver training for frontline workers and senior leadership. Young people can also train to undertake interviews and get paid an hourly rate for this ad hoc work.

Follow the UVP team on Instagram and Twitter (@ourvoicesurrey) and send them a direct message for more information.


Events for care leavers

Kirsty Capes: inspiring story of a care leaver - 26th October 2021

We are very excited to share with you this exciting opportunity for care leavers and care experienced young people aged 14+ in Surrey, as part of National Care Leavers Week celebrations.

Kirsty Capes works in publishing and, as a Surrey care leaver, is an advocate for better representation for care-experienced people in the media. Careless is her first novel. Kirsty will talk about her novel, her writing journey and path to publication. There will be an opportunity for the young people to ask Kirsty some questions. This will be followed by a writing workshop facilitated by Kirsty.

This is an incredible opportunity for any aspiring writers and avid readers, but also for young people who want to learn something new or that are simply curious to hear about Kirsty's experiences as a care leaver, her career and successes.

This event will be BSL interpreted. Please note that the content of this event includes topics some young people may find distressing or triggering: offensive language, self-harm, sex, drug use, abortion. The event takes place on Tuesday 26th October 5.30pm-7pm on Zoom. You can sign up to come along to the event here. Every young person that attends will receive a copy of the book or audiobook.

National Care Leavers 2021

Taking place between Monday 25th October and Sunday 31st October, National Care Leavers Week celebrates the success and achievements of care leavers across the country. We are currently planning some great activities for our Surrey care leavers. More details to be revealed soon.


Advocacy and Complaints Service

What's our aim?

We want children and young people to be more able and confident to 'self advocate' ie speak up for themselves to make sure:

  • they fully understand the decisions being made by professionals and also how these decisions will impact on their life,
  • that these professionals fully understand what the young person wishes for and how they feel about the decisions affecting their life.

Young people will have more opportunities to express their wishes and feelings and to have a direct say about the issues that affect their lives, whether they are making a complaint, trying to resolve a problem or meeting with professionals.

What's our belief?

We believe that all staff working with children and young people have an advocacy role to play and that it is often better to avoid unnecessarily introducing more adults into children's lives.

Our message to workers is that: Advocacy starts with you unless you feel your 'hands are tied' or the young person wishes to make a complaint and asks for independent advocacy support to do so.

Advocacy services in Surrey are provided by Coram Voice. If you would like more information about the support they can provide, or to access an advocate, please visit the Coram Voice website.

If you wish to speak to someone further regarding advocacy support or to make a complaint, please speak to your personal adviser in the first instance, or contact the Surrey Customer Relations team using their email: be.heard@surreycc.gov.uk