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Charity Commission chief hears about challenges facing care leavers

Release Date: 25 Sep 2017

Care leavers supported by Barnardo’s spoke frankly about the challenges facing young people in their situation at a breakfast meeting with Helen Stephenson CBE, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission.

Helen Stephenson CBE, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, met care leavers during a visit to Redbridge Leaving Care Service in Ilford

Helen heard about their experience of having to adapt to adult life without a family network to fall back on during the hour-long discussion at Barnardo’s Redbridge Leaving Care Service in Woodford Avenue on Friday, September 22.

Keeping up with bill payments, staying in employment, education or training, dealing with mental health challenges and social isolation were high on the agenda as the young people talked about how their support workers have helped them work towards positive futures beyond foster care.

Helen also spoke to Barnardo’s workers who are tasked with helping the 190 care leavers in the east London borough, through a partnership agreement between the children’s charity and Redbridge Council.

Care leaver Jamila Warsame, 24, said: “When I moved into semi-independent living I didn’t know anything about bills or things like that. It feels like you’re being thrown in the deep end. A volunteer from the service was coming to see me once a week and we could talk about personal issues, because the relationship was quite informal.

“Since then I’ve grown a lot and had brilliant support, and I was able to get a job and take advantage of some brilliant opportunities that the Redbridge Leaving Care team provided.”

Helen Stephenson, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said: “I was impressed by what I saw and heard about the impact Barnardo’s has on the lives of young people.

“The role of the Commission is to regulate charities, and to hold Barnardo’s and other charities to account. We do this to help strengthen the sector both now and into the future – and my visit today was an important reminder of just how vital charities are to our society.

“It was great to witness such successful partnerships in action and to see the benefits they bring to young people. I would like to thank everyone at Barnardo’s, and especially the young people that I met, for extending me such a warm welcome.”

Javed Khan, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, said: “It’s a real honour to have Helen visit one of our services to see first-hand the positive impact of our work with care leavers. These young people are among the most vulnerable in our society and they need help as they make the difficult transition to adulthood - but they are also some of the most resilient and determined, and with the right support and opportunities, we know they can flourish.”


Notes to editors

For more information please contact Dan Hodges on 07887 737 048 or email

Picture caption: Young people and Barnardo’s staff with Helen Stephenson, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, during a visit to Redbridge Leaving Care Service in east London.

About Barnardo’s

Last year 272,000 children, young people and families were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 1,000 services across the UK, including young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, and through training and skills or parenting classes.

We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future. But we cannot do it without you.

Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605.

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