“Adjust your expectations, and give us a chance to shine.” That’s the message that a group of young people on the journey from care to independence will be sharing with the public during the première of a new film.
York based social enterprise Inspired Youth created the film The One Percent in partnership with the York Mediale arts festival.
It follows the story of Sam, a York care leaver who uses the words of other young people leaving care to explain some of the challenges that they face as they transition from local authority care to living as independent young adults in York.
The hard-hitting film invites the viewer to challenge the stereotypical view of the one percent – the proportion of looked-after children.
This one percent are expected to achieve significantly less at school, and account for a higher incidence of criminal conviction and homelessness than the 99% of children raised within their own families.
They can achieve great things
Inspired Youth has supported the young people to find their voices and develop their skills to make the film.
Director Kev Curran said they want the film to make a difference by highlighting some of the real challenges faced by care leavers as they try to find their way in the world, saying:
We have to encourage and support each of these young people to make the most of their lives.
They need our belief that they can achieve great things rather than saddling them with unhelpful and destructive low expectations, which just compound the view that they are more likely to fail than achieve.
With the right support and opportunities, care experienced young people can excel, Kev said. The One Percent is just the start of a campaign which includes joining The Children’s Society’s calls for a national exemption from care leavers being expected to pay council tax from the day after they leave care.
“Simple steps can have a massive, positive impact on their lives,” he said.
The film will be screened at the Everyman Cinema in Blossom Street at 6.30pm on Tuesday 2 October, and is to be followed by a panel discussion featuring the young people who worked on the film, hosted by Jenny Molloy, a care leaver herself and now a best-selling author
What they say about The One Percent
‘Politicians should listen’
All young people should have the opportunities to nurture their creativity and talents, and it is exciting to see how York Mediale is using media to highlight social issues facing young adults in society today.
Care leavers in particular need far more opportunities to engage in the creative arts as a media through which to develop their creativity.
It is exciting that young people are using this media to raise political demands, and it is wise that politicians listen carefully and engage with their agenda; I certainly will.
– York Central MP Rachael Maskell
‘Setting them up to fail’
Care leavers have often experienced a really difficult upbringing and they may have experienced abuse, neglect or family breakdown which can have a big impact upon their life chances.
Without the family support most young people get as they become adults, care leavers often struggle to juggle their household bills and make ends meet. Many find themselves in debt, or having to go without food or other basic necessities.
To expect some of the country’s most vulnerable young people to start paying council tax just days after leaving care is setting them up to fail.
That’s why The Children’s Society has been calling on local authorities to exempt care leavers from paying council tax up until the age of 25. We have seen evidence that this is a real issue for many of the 53,000 young people under 25 estimated to be care leavers.
– Sam Royston, The Children’s Society