Service User Special

Hayley Prew (pictured right) kicks off a special children’s section written and edited by care leavers and young people in care

What good can be gained from reading these personal accounts? Perhaps it will enable you to view the world as your young clients do, then you may discover what really needs to be done to help.

Empathy is the most valuable gift you can offer these young people. An altruistic attitude will get you a lot further than completing all your paperwork on time.

Imagine yourself in every situation you read about. This is an opportunity to look through different eyes a rare opportunity, as you would not normally gain such a detailed insight into these experiences. Most looked-after children will not wish to articulate the true range and depth of their feelings. Some may find it fruitless and hold the belief that everything they say has no value.

These young people need understanding patience and love. What you have to ask yourself is: will your contribution count? Will you be remembered for a good reason or as just another face? A collective effort needs to be made.

What separates us from animals is our ability to think and feel. I hope these accounts all serve to inspire you to do both. After all, children in care are just lost, lonely or abandoned children.

Care leavers and emotional development

Children in care and social workers: a fraught relationship

What makes agood foster carer?

Why children’s homes are anything but ‘homes’

Accommodation for care leavers: ‘Dirty and empty: my first flat’

Jayne Beckett (pictured right) presents a special adults section written by people with learning disabilities

Back in June, nine of us met up in Derby with our support workers and Community Care’s practice editor Graham Hopkins. We were asked about the things we would like to tell people who read Community Care. We all came up with different ideas.

Some of us wanted to tell people about our own achievements, such as organising events, choosing housemates and running races for charity.

Others wanted to talk about things which need changing, like helping people to have more of a say, making sure they are properly paid at work and can go where they want.

All of the ideas came from our own lives. Some of us in the group need a lot of support to do things, others, like me, are quite independent. But we all agreed that standing up and telling people what we want and what we can do is really important.

Thank you for reading our stories we hope you enjoy them. We hope they give you an idea of what people with learning disabilities can do and want to do, sometimes with your support and sometimes without. We certainly had fun writing them.

Written with support from Sarah Bartlett at United Response

Workable Solutions in Durham: one to one job training for people with learning disabilities

Housing and flatmates for people with learning disabilities

How to gain confidence for self advocacy

Running man: David Fry uses his athletic prowess to fundraise

Fenlands of Cambridgeshire lag behind on accessibility for disabled people

Parenting with learning disabilities: Michelle’s story

What are social workers doing for us, asks Kerry Pike, who has learning disabilities

Young People Speaking Up: Special schools and mainstream schools compared

Alf Pearson’s story: from institutional care to independence

Holiday challenge: good places for people with learning disabilities

Funky Flamingo: the club for people with learning disabilities



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