Two of our young people took to the stage at a conference in Eastbourne this weekend and spoke passionately about how Drive Forward has supported them.

Care leavers Jordan and Roopa told members of Rotary in London about their experiences of the one-to-one support that is helping them to achieve their career goals.

Rotary is a worldwide organisation of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas and the organisation’s main objective is service: in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world.

Drive Forward was invited to speak about its work at the Rotary in London District Conference in Eastbourne on 22 October. District Governor Helen Antoniou introduced our Director, Martha Wansbrough, who explained what is meant by the term ‘care leaver’ and how life – and life chances – can be very different for young people who have grown up in care. She went on to explain how our corporate networks are what set us apart how important professional role models and introductions are in enabling our young people to move into careers rather than just jobs.

Our Operations Director, Anton Babey, spoke about the difference we are able to make through tailored one-to-one support and group work to boost employability skills as well as addressing confidence and self-esteem. So far this year we have helped more than 150 young people into employment, education or training.

But it was Roopa and Jordan who stole the show, speaking candidly about the challenges they have been able to overcome and how positive they feel about their futures.

Martha Wansbrough said: “I’m really proud of Roopa and Jordan. It takes a lot for some of our young people to speak about their experiences in front of a room full of people but it’s so important that groups like Rotary, who represent their communities, understand the issues around young people leaving care.

“I hope we can continue to work with Rotary in London as they could make a difference to many young lives in our city.”

We also had the opportunity to show the Rotarians a short film we have produced about the services we provide. You can watch it here. You can see more photos from the event on our Facebook page.