Staying close is a DFE funded pilot to provide ongoing support to care leavers who have lived in residential homes.

This support is tailored to each young person’s needs, they can identify a person who they want to continue to stay in touch with once they leave the home to support them aiding that transition process and reducing that `cliff edge` at 18yrs. We also provide drop-in groups where these young people can come for Sunday lunch or a midweek tea like going home to family. Many of the young people have moved on from the same homes and use this as a chance to meet up with close friends they grew up with. There are workers there who can support them with specific needs and signpost them to them to services that could help them further. Alongside the groups we provide a pantry where they can access food for a small membership fee, this is like going to mum’s for tea and raiding her cupboard something most of us can identify with either as a child or parent. 

How does FareShare help?

We have been Fareshare members since May 2018 using the food for both drop-in groups and the pantry which is a small food bank. Access to this food has been of immense support, without it we could not afford to run both groups which are well attended by young people who are very often so chaotic having no phones and rarely remember appointments yet always remember we are there for a hot meal and chat when they need it most. The pantry would also be impossible without this food, our young people tell us it’s a lifeline when they are struggling. We use this food to create healthy recipes giving out the food with the recipe cards encouraging them to cook meals rather than takeaways. 

During the pandemic we have used this food to distribute food parcels to the most vulnerable young people and when possible, we have opened the pantry for bookings only providing them with a hot meal in a takeaway tray whenever possible as they could not be in the building for a group. During this time, we have been supporting around 40 young people a week seeing them in a socially distanced safe way checking wellbeing and giving them a chance to discuss any worries or good news stories they have in this difficult time. 

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