“I’m Lynzy and I work as the Policy Ambassador for Who Cares? Scotland. I also grew up in care. Who Cares? Scotland is an independent advocacy and campaign organisation that works with care experienced young people, helping them to be listened to. We know that when young people are heard great things happen. The last time the Scottish Parliament listened to care experienced young people, a law called the Children and Young People Act 2014 was brought in and it included some of the biggest changes to care in a long time. However, we know that bigger changes are still needed. This is why Who Cares? Scotland came up with the 1000 Voices campaign.
1000 Voices asks that 1000 care experienced young people’s voices are listened to by the First Minister. We hope that by hearing from 1000 care experienced young people the First Minister will understand how things can be made better for them. In September 2016 the First Minister visited our national office in Glasgow and I got to meet her. After she had spoken with us she decided to back the 1000 Voices campaign over the next two years. Not long after this, she also decided there should be a review of care in Scotland.
As someone with care experience I think it is vital for our voices to be heard. We are the ones that live in care so we know how it really works and what it feels like, better than anyone else. Sharing things about yourself can be scary at the time, but afterwards I have always felt empowered. I remember the first time I shared my story, I felt like a bag of nerves but then I felt really listened to. I felt that everything I said had meaning and that finally my story was being understood and not judged.
I believe that the First Minister listening to 1000 voices could improve the life chances of young people who come into care. I especially hope that ‘1000 voices’ can make it easier for care experienced young people to get the support they need to get the most out of their education. Young people in care already face lives full of upheaval and uncertainty. They must cope with being separated from their families, adjusting to a new way of life, getting to know new people, as well as going to meetings, reviews and children’s hearings. Even though care experienced young people have the right to extra support in school, this doesn’t always happen. I believe that if our views are listened to, more people will understand what support we need in education and how important it is that we get it. We could improve the chances of care experienced young people going on to college and university, something that a lot of us never think we can achieve. I believe that if we, care experienced young people, are listened to, there is so much more we can achieve in the world.”
If you are interested in hearing about how you can get involved with 1000 Voices, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.