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Blog by Susanna Cheal – The Launch of New Belongings


Energy, enthusiasm and commitment were palpable in The Department for Education on Monday 

2 September when an impressive group of care leavers came together with nine pilot local 

authorities to launch the New Belongings project, inspired by care leavers themselves with the 

support of The Care Leavers' Foundation. 



The project is working with nine local authorities in England to drive up standards in support for 

care leavers. In particular they will engage their own communities in extended corporate parenting 

- to make sure that care leavers feel the benefit of integrated and longer lasting wrap around care.

The nine pilot authorities came together for the first time at the 2 September launch. Planning for 

the event has been going on for the past few weeks, and it was rewarding for care leavers and the project team to see it all come together on the day. It was an inspiring event with a real buzz and commitment from everyone to the hard work to come. 



Scott King, chair of the group of care leavers who are advising ministers showed his video ‘We 

Are Paper to demonstrate why improvements are so necessary, and for a caring attitude and 

support. 



Kyle Simmons highlighted the need for a consistent approach across entitlements, rights and 

appropriate professional support.  



The Children’s Minister, Edward Timpson MP, sent a message of support for the launch of New 

Belongings, which the DfE has funded, to take commitment to improving leaving care services in 

local authorities to the next level. Its great to have such solid support and confidence in the project at such a high level.



Liz Lyden, chair of the New Belongings project group and trustee of The Care Leavers' Foundation 

reflected the optimism of the care leavers and the project team, in setting off at a pace to bring 

about change.

The project will get behind the paperwork and focus on the reality of local care 

leavers' experiences, involving them in creating cultural change at local level. 

We have just over one year to proceed on this journey with our partners, and begin to make the 

difference we would like to see.  

I feel very positive about the approach the project is taking and core to that is the outstanding commitment of older care leavers who want to make care services so much better now. Research has shown that care leavers have asked for the same improvements for 30 years. With all the legislation and policy in place there is nothing to stop the creation of excellent consistent services if we all work in partnership with a positive 'can do' attitude and refuse to settle for second best. 

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