Trapped in the foster care system, Lizzy Lloyd was determined to achieve in life.
Told she was no good and probably destined for prison, the schoolgirl fought to prove them all wrong.
At the age of 11, Lizzy said her world was turned upside down when she was put into foster care after her family neglected her needs.
Along with her two younger sisters she was placed with a string of families and carried the stigma of her unfortunate circumstances.
Now Lizzy, who is proudly starting Northumbria University, is using her experience to become a voice for fellow fostered youngsters.
And the 19-year-old is organising a fun day for them so she can find out what changes they would like made to the foster care system.
Lizzy, who gained triple distinction* in BTEC health sciences, said: “One of the main reasons that I am holding this event is because I was once a kid in care. I went into the care system at the age of 11 with my two sisters.
“Throughout my childhood I felt ignored and felt that I had no say or control in how my life turned out. I had no say in which placements I went to and whether I wanted to stay there or not.
“I was always carrying this label around with me. I was told by some adults that I would never amount to anything and would end up in prison, just because of the fact I was in care. However, I’ve proved them wrong and I’m starting university to become a paediatric nurse.”
Lizzy, who is now living in foster support lodgings in Newcastle, added: “I managed to get to this point in my life on my own with a little help from my social worker. However, there are thousands of looked-after children who don’t have a voice and are left feeling rejected and useless.
“The event is a fun day for looked-after children and it will be entirely free for them. The aim is to find out what the children dislike about being in care and what changes they would like to see.”
Lizzy is working with Voices for Choices - a group of looked after children and members of the Children in Care Council for Newcastle. She is steadfast on giving youngsters the chance to have their say and with their answers she will present Newcastle Social Services with their suggestions.
“I feel young people in foster care should have more of a say,” added Lizzy, who has had part-time jobs since the age of 13 and now works part-time as a nursing assistant. “Even foster carers should be allowed to voice their views. We should be able to say if we want to meet up with foster carers again after leaving their homes. We create bonds but they are broken when the child leaves to go somewhere else. Both the child and carers views should be taken into consideration.”
The fun day will be held on October 26 at the Blakelaw Centre in Blakelaw, Newcastle, between 11am and 2pm.
Local councillor Ben Riley has given a helping hand. There will be various activities during the day including; a bouncy castle, magician, arts and crafts, soft play and more. Lizzy is raising £500 to pay for the event.
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