Helping people find their normal
Since the beginning, it’s been our aim to make a difference in the lives of young care leavers. Regardless of background and circumstances, we’re here to help them make some momentum, find their way in the world and realise their individual potential.
WHY WE DO IT
We all remember the day we leave home. It’s a heady mix of excitement and apprehension at striking out in the adult world alone. But the trouble is, some of us are exactly that – alone – without the safety net of mum and dad, or gran and grandad to help dish out a little bit of advice, some support or even just a hug.
There are over 83,000 children in care in the UK, with 10,000 aged 16-18 branching out on their own in 2013 . And we’re determined to make sure that they have the support and help they need to stand confidently on their own two feet and not be thwarted by low expectations of what they can actually achieve.
Why we can’t sit still
The importance of the work we do at Drive Forward is even clearer when you consider the impact on the lives of young people if we didn’t do anything:
WHERE WE CAME FROM
Drive Forward was originally called Partners in Hope, a UK charity founded in 1993 which has been working with vulnerable children and young people for the past 20 years. Its work was focused in Russia, specifically helping young people from institutional orphanage care.
Typically young people will leave, what is for most a lifetime in care, with reasonable educational qualifications but no independent living skills and limited job opportunities. Of the 500 orphan graduates in Moscow each year only 10% will make it through to a normal job/family life.
Our work was about finding and creating higher education and job opportunities with a view to challenging the statistics and developing an environment for real and lasting change on behalf of these young people.
When it was no longer politically viable to work in Russia, our founder wanted to make the most of the hard won corporate relationships to transfer the opportunities to UK care leavers and after 4 months of research Drive Forward was set up as a job brokerage in 2010 to help young London care leavers without professional networks to begin their careers.
So in 2010, after months of carrying out research on the challenges facing young care leavers in the UK, we launched our first employment training and personal development programme in London. As it emerged that more fundamental training and holistic support was required, Drive Forward was launched to provide more practical and emotional support to care leavers, helping them develop key skills, confidence and motivation for work, education or training.
That was in 2012 and we haven’t looked back since, inspiring, motivating and supporting hundreds of young care leavers as they make their momentum.