Staying close and staying connected in East Anglia

Featured article - 13 November 2018
By Rachel Leslie, Project Implementation Manager, Break - Changing Young Lives

Rachel Leslie, Project Implementation Manager, Break - Changing Young Lives

I spend my days immersed in the challenges of supporting young people as they leave residential care in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. But I write this on an early morning journey to Bristol, the location of a workshop with Bristol City Council, one of the other hosts of our Staying Close pilot.

I wonder what it is like not knowing where you will live when you turn 18; not knowing what is in front of you, your future and where you are going, whether the people who stand next to you and make you feel safe will disappear from your lives because you’ve got to move on. When I left home at a similar age it felt so different; it was so supported and safe. Tonight I will be tucking into home-cooked food with my Mum and Dad, sleeping in my old room that I left when I was 18; that’s 24 years ago.

Mistakes can be OK

These are the challenges that young people are helping us to understand and mitigate where we can. I feel thankful that I know where I am going today, that the road I am on has signposts and that I have a colleague next to me sharing the journey. That I feel confident and skilled enough to do my job today but that I also know I can make mistakes and this will be okay.

After a 5.30am start the questions whizzing around my head are the after effects from a thought provoking session yesterday:

  • How do we change the outcomes for this group of young people?
  • What is it about our project that is critical to our success?
  • How do we embed coproduction in the project?

Our aspiration for the project is to provide this secure base in East Anglia, along with a lifelong connection and sense of belonging for young people whilst providing them with a home and support when they leave their children’s home.

If you would like to find out more about our innovation project on leaving care please get in touch. Please call 01603 273 530 or

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