News and Blogs News Young people with care experience at the heart of new project Staf and Children in Scotland are delighted to announce their partnership with young people with care experience to design and deliver the evaluation of a ground-breaking new initiative in Scotland. The £3 million Home and Belonging initiative was created by the Life Changes Trust as part of its approach to transforming the lives of young people with care experience when they move into their own homes. Through this initiative, service providers, including housing associations, charities and local authorities, have been given an opportunity to work alongside young people so that they can design fresh new approaches together. The Life Changes Trust has funded 12 innovative projects to help care leavers thrive in their homes by offering them more choice about where and how they live, supporting them to find a sense of belonging in their own communities and helping to reduce isolation. Young people with care experience have been central to the development and co-design of all the Home and Belonging projects, and now they will also be central to designing and delivering the evaluation of all 12 projects. Over the next three years, Children in Scotland and Staf will work together with 12 young people who have care experience, aged between 16 and 26, to design and then deliver an evaluation approach for ‘Home and Belonging’. The young people involved will receive payment to lead the development of the evaluation. They will have the opportunity to gain new skills and travel across Scotland to see the projects in action. Today, partners Children in Scotland and Staf are launching a campaign to recruit six young people to deliver stage one of the evaluation. Find out how you can get involved Pamela Graham, Head of Learning and Development at Staf said: “If we are to realise our vision of a Scotland where the success and wellbeing of young people leaving care is indistinguishable from that of their peers in the general population, we need to ensure they have a strong sense of home and belonging. “To do that we must prioritise what is important to the young people themselves. That’s why we are so delighted to be supporting the participation of young people with care experience in this project.” David Mackay, Policy and Projects Manager at Children in Scotland said: “We are very excited to be involved with the Home and Belonging initiative. Young people have been at the centre of developing these new projects, resulting in a range of creative and inspiring interventions. “Home and Belonging is all about giving young people with care experience an opportunity to have their voices heard and allowing them to take the lead. This ethos will be reflected in our approach to the evaluation of the projects.” Carole Patrick from the Life Changes Trust said: "Young people with care experience sit at the heart of everything we do at the Trust, providing inspiration and motivation. They have been fully involved in every aspect of the Home and Belonging initiative. We are so pleased that Children in Scotland and Staf will be working together to continue that involvement, making sure that young people can play a full part in the evaluation of these innovative projects." Media contact: Chris Small (Children In Scotland) Tel 0131 313 8824 Email: [email protected] Notes: Staf Established in 1998, Staf is a membership organisation for practitioners, managers and corporate parents who work with young people leaving care. At the heart of this work is the belief that care experienced young people are the primary and most significant influencers in developing and improving outcomes for their peers. We are the only organisation in Scotland representing all 32 local authorities and a further 40 voluntary and independent organisations who deliver services for care leavers. Children in Scotland Giving all children in Scotland an equal chance to flourish is at the heart of everything we do. By bringing together a network of people working with and for children, alongside children and young people themselves, we offer a broad, balanced and independent voice. We create solutions, provide support and develop positive change across all areas affecting children in Scotland. We do this by listening, gathering evidence, and applying and sharing our learning, while always working to uphold children’s rights. Our range of knowledge and expertise means we can provide trusted support on issues as diverse as the people we work with and the varied lives of children and families in Scotland. The Life Changes Trust The Life Changes Trust was set up with a National Lottery Community Fund endowment of £50 million to support transformational and sustainable improvements in the quality of life, empowerment, and social inclusion of young people with care experience, people living with dementia and unpaid carers of people with dementia. Our core areas of work; policy influence, learning and development, networking and good practice share, connecting and collaborating and young people’s voice are underpinned and informed at all levels by care experienced young people’s views and experience.