We are leaders with lived experience who have developed both empathy and authority to young people and the services they receive. We know that lived experience provides a lens to understand what it feels like to be in the shoes of a child experiencing children’s services.

As professionals we have built authority through our 10 years of learning what works, and leading organisations to achieve innovative projects that benefit the lives of young people. We believe the intersection between lived experience and leadership is where authentic change really happens, enabling us to hear real experiences and translate that to training, service design and transformation.

We also know from our own experience of working with leaders committed to these changes that there is real power in connecting both strategy and lived experience, resulting in unlocking creative energy whilst working flexibly with you both online and face to face.

An example of how we work

The Care Leaders were asked to develop a national platform to connect, engage and provide opportunities for care leavers to steer and develop The National House Project. Over 12 months we established and launched the Care Leavers National Movement, which brought together a group of 18 young people from 6 local authorities whose focus was to highlight system challenges, celebrate success stories and test innovative ideas.

The Care Leavers’ National Movement has sustained its membership and grown it to include 12 local authorities. The Care Leavers National Movement has instigated the ‘Keep Care Leavers Connected’ campaign that has gained national traction and developed partnerships with some of the UK’s leading organisations for children’s social care.

Our understanding of the challenges

We recognise the challenges leaders face when they have to develop organisational structures that engage with young people and staff. It can be natural to turn to forums and surveys to capture feedback, often leaving us with the dilemma of what to do with what we hear. We support leaders in thinking systemically about engagement, looking at governance, accountability and innovation to ensure when we listen to our people we can then act upon it and demonstrate real change.

For staff working with young people we believe it is important to receive impactful training, listen to inspirational seminars which provide insights into lived experiences, and engage them in processes that transform services.

We know that working in children’s services takes passion, commitment and empathy.

We also know that this is a sector at the forefront of negative media and stigmatisation which can be de-motivating and hold low morale.

We believe in helping you to develop systems that

  1. Engage staff in co-design of services, providing feedback and solutions about how to develop them
  2. Engage staff in development opportunities that will both reinvigorate and inspire positive action, and connect them with positive stories from lived experience.

Ultimately, we see young people as our true client.

This is who we work for and all of our services are focused on ensuring they are central in our thinking and development. We know organisations have a statutory duty to ‘consult’ with young people, through consultations and forums. However we believe that engaging with young people is more than just this. We work with young people to engage them in activities that bring them together and develop their skills to build better futures. We want to enable them to feel valued and a sense of ownership over services they experience and the lives they will go on to lead.

Finally we want to challenge and shape society’s perspective of young people, especially those in the care system. We know that young people use services not because of what they have done, but because of what’s been done to them. We see our role here to directly challenge this narrative by being role models and leaders who are fully committed to change.

If you want to know how we can work with you and support your organisation to engage with lived experience and transform the way we support children in care please get in touch today at hello@thecareleaders.com

To find out more about our training, programmes and free seminars, join our email list here

Care Leavers Middlesbrough Children Matter Youth Voice Bucks The House Project Buckingham Council Department For Education Leeds City Council
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