Additional funding has been provided to St Christopher’s to expand our Staying Close model supporting care leavers in England.
The Department for Education has provided a total of £407,515 to maintain our existing pilot and develop the model for four of our children’s homes across London and the West Midlands.
Staying Close centres on supporting young people living in residential care with their transition to independence. Our current pilot launched in 2017 in partnership with the London Borough of Ealing and Hounslow, working with young people in four children’s homes to build their life skills, relationships and resilience.
We focus on helping young people to stay in touch with the people they care about after they move out of their children’s home. This addresses the isolation that many young people can feel once they leave care and means they have people around them who can support them during difficult times, but also be there to celebrate their successes.
St Christopher’s Staying Close model is co-produced, empowering young people to take the lead on the help they need when moving on from their children’s home to independence. Part of the new funding will allow us to explore how to develop a peer researcher apprenticeship for a care experienced young person, so that co-production can be central to the project analysis.
St Christopher’s has already begun to roll-out learning from the project by implementing the use of Staying Close across all of their services in England. This means that young people moving on from their services, regardless of the circumstances, will be offered the chance to co-produce a plan that helps them stay in touch with staff in the home, if they wish to do so.
Chief Executive Jonathan Whalley said: “This extended funding is testament to the life-changing work that our Staying Close team has achieved. I am thrilled that we can replicate our model to benefit more young people as they leave the care system, especially during our 150th birthday year.
“These successes would not have been possible without the guidance and expertise from young people using our services, so thank you for all of your help.”
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