Taken into care as children, they didn’t have the easiest start in life.
But they have gone on to make a success of their adult lives, and are sharing their stories as an inspiration to others.
Thanks to a multi-media project they are reaching out to encourage youngsters in a similar situation to aim high when they leave the system.
Aspire To More
Aspire to More is a new website featuring interviews with inspirational care-leavers who have enjoyed success later in life.
Produced by Inspired Youth, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and created in partnership with Show Me That I Matter, York’s children in care council (pictured above with Paolo Hewitt), the project aims to raise young people’s expectations and ambitions.
As well as local voices, the project features open and honest interviews with Paolo Hewitt, former NME journalist and author of The Looked After Kid, and Jenny Molloy, author of Hackney Child.
“To reach out to those in care and say nothing is impossible is a brilliant idea,” said Paolo. “I’m honoured to be a part of it.”
Here are a few of the moving stories shared on the Aspire To More website.
Danny Innes was in care for five years after his family were evicted. He left when he was 18 and now lives in York.
He took part in music4care, a music video about real life experiences of being in care featuring York rapper Kritical that premiered at York St John University in front of an audience of almost 200 people.
I got my life back on track. I finished school, I went to college, then I got a job and my own place.
Some kids feel like because they have been in care they don’t think they’ve got a life. They feel like just because they have been in care they have no way of achieving things.
But there is a future out there for you, just believe in yourself. Just because you have been in care doesn’t mean you’ve changed, it just means you’ve changed who you live with.
Pippa Daniels, 23, is originally from York but now lives in Liverpool, where she’s just completed a degree in health and social wellbeing and has got a job as a residential child support worker.
She was taken into foster care because her mother was in an unhappy and abusive marriage.
There are loads of statistics showing that many young people in foster care don’t go on to achieve degree status. Or, if they do go, they eventually drop out.
The fact that I have been able to power through and have the support there to enable me to get to this point makes this my greatest achievement.
Jade Ward, 26, from York, lived with her Nanna from the age of nine and went into care at 13. Her parents were both drug-users who ended up in prison.
She’s worked with leaving-care services and children in care for the last ten years, and was a member of the Show Me That I Matter panel.
I think people see me as a success now and that’s really, really nice to hear. But I’m not embarrassed of my background at all; if it wasn’t for my background I wouldn’t have my job. I wouldn’t have had all the opportunities I have had.