During the pandemic, many of us have been experiencing a lot of new experiences that are both amazing and frighting for all of us. The changes of working from home and online learning became the biggest change for everyone around the UK, along with the stress and worry about people’s health and becoming isolated. For many care-experienced people, this was exactly the same, including the fear of people becoming more isolated than usual.

From my own experience, I can remember my personal advisor during the pandemic, checking in with a lot of her care leavers, to see how they are and most importantly how they were doing. For me this was an amazing thing to have during a time of uncertainty and fear of catching coronavirus. The most important thing that came into place that I found interesting as someone who was living outside of my local authority was that they texted us a lot of the time to remind us of what is going on and advice on what to do if we develop symptoms of the virus.

This felt really great, as it allowed me as a care leaver to feel that I was getting somewhat the same treatment as a lot of my peers who were not in the system, as they would of got the support they needed from friends and family, but for care experienced people this was going to be from either there social workers, personal advisors, local authority and most importantly for the younger people who are in care, they would get support from their foster carers.

In my own pandemic experience, a lot of local authorities decided to arrange online face to face calls with young people to be in contact with each other so that young people had at least one person to talk to during the pandemic, but also to reduce the risk of people isolating and having a rise in anxiety and depression. From my own experience with my local authority, this helped dramatically, as for someone who does suffer with anxiety and depression daily, having this contact with people and being able to interact with people even if it was not face to face, still helped as it made me feel that I was not alone and that I had something to look forward to during the week. For many this helped lots of other young people as well as online data showed that during the pandemic, many young people and even care experienced people were using Zoom to contact and interact with their friends, which I have got to say I was one of them.

However, the support that our local authority and personal advisors gave us as care leavers weren’t always to do with being in contact, it was the financial and emotional support during the pandemic that helped us as well. For many of us, the pandemic affected us dramatically regarding our income, as many of us were placed onto the government furlough scheme which helped us a bit, but from experience, the scheme did mess up a lot of the time as we were not always paid at the correct time. for a lot of us this caused a massive anxiety in our lives as from experience it stopped us from being able to get food in and pay our rent when needed.

Due to this, many local authorities arranged to give food boxes to care leavers who were struggling to get food, and this was if people were running out of money or even from my own experience being at university, my personal advisor also suggested to get a food box delivered from my local supermarket to help me.

Overall, the reality of the support that the leaving care team and the local authorities all together gave, was completely amazing, in my opinion, if my local authority did not decide to stay in contact with young people or organise zoom events and catch up’s during the pandemic, I feel that myself and a lot of care leavers across the UK, might of fell from being their normal selves to being isolated and feeling extremely anxious and maybe even depressed a lot of the time. By doing these events and catch-up calls, I feel that this is one of the reason’s that many care leavers are still here, but most importantly feeling that they can cope because without this support, I will have to admit many of us would hit rock bottom, especially when it came down to issues with income.

By Anonymous Care Experienced Blogger. 

 

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