The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has announced that it will spend £2m a year for the next five years on helping young people who are leaving care.
The funding aims to ‘ensure that care leavers are decision makers in the choices that affect their lives’, and could be for core or project costs, including staff salaries and overheads. There are no limits on grant size or length and while most support is likely to be in the form of grants, the Foundation will also consider making social investments.
It is looking to fund:
Work that develops long lasting, supportive relationships for young people in and leaving care, such as:
- good practice models of how family relationships (including relationships with siblings) can be nurtured rather than broken by the care system
- development of existing non-family relationships with friends and significant adults, such as teachers, previous foster carers, sports coaches etc
- development of practical, informal networks that allow care leavers to receive advice, make friends, reduce isolation and grasp positive opportunities
- policy and practice for looked after children that values and prioritises long lasting supportive relationships and the positive role the care system can play in nurturing and developing these relationships
Work that has a positive impact on the support that care leavers receive from their local authority and other statutory services such as:
- involving care leavers in decisions about their own lives and in the design of services, in order that they influence the structures and processes that govern how they are treated
- advocating for young people leaving care to obtain what they are legally entitled to and need
- influencing broader policy, particularly in relation to standardising best practice across the UK
- collecting and sharing data and knowledge about care leavers and benchmarking local authority services for care leavers
Applications are via its website, and there is no deadline.
According to the Foundation, 10,000 young people over 16 leave care each year, a third before their 18th birthday, compared to the general population where 50% are still living with their parents at 24, while half of care-leavers believe they are made to do so too early and that they receive very poor preparation and support for the challenges of adult life.
In 2015, the Foundation spent £33m in grants and committed £6m in social investments to 307 organisations doing legally charitable work in the UK across the arts, children and young people, environment, food, and social change sectors.
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