Barnet has become the first local authority in London to launch its own charity to help looked after children fulfil their dreams and aspirations. On 16 February Barnet officially launched ‘Live Unlimited’, a registered charity based on the vision of providing all looked after children and care leavers with the opportunities, support and inspiration to fulfil their potential and follow their dreams.
As part of the charity, Barnet has established the ‘Imagination Trust’.
This charitable trust will allow looked after children or care leavers to apply for individual small grants for activities such as football or ballet lessons, theatre trips and out-of-school activities that support them in fulfilling their own unique hopes and dreams.
The charity will complement the extensive services and support the council provides to every looked after child, and will fund the sort of additional activities which families might provide for their children outside of school hours.
Some of the many aspirations highlighted by some of our looked after children, include dreams of sporting and music careers, of becoming a professional dance teacher, electrical engineer, of joining the police, becoming a foster carer, opening their own nursery, and mastering musical instruments.
The charity aims to help the 326 looked after children and 216 care leavers in Barnet. While many children thrive in their new environment, statistically children in care tend to have poorer life chances and outcomes than other children living with their birth families.
The charity has three main themes:
- Encouraging looked after children and care leavers to follow their passions and explore their interests
- Help equip looked after children and care leavers with the life skills they need to fulfil their dreams
- Inspiring all looked after children and care leavers to succeed beyond their imagination Like other charities, people are able to donate money and organise their own fundraising events in support of Live Unlimited.
GRAHAM Construction, who made a significant donation to help kick start the Imagination Trust and Saracens who hosted the launch and are leading on the ‘On Your Marks’ a sports and fun day, were thanked for their support.
Charity trustee Brett Service, who was a Barnet looked after child himself and now works in Barnet Council’s children’s service as an apprentice, said: “It is a privilege to be part of a charity that works to inspire Barnet’s care experienced young people. As a Barnet care leaver myself I understand the positive impact the work of Live Unlimited will have on the young people who access the services offered by the charity.”
Barnet Council Chief Executive and Chair of Trustees, John Hooton, said: “Improving outcomes for our looked after children and care leavers is incredibly important to us. While many children in care thrive, we know, statistically, they can in some cases have poorer life chances and outcomes.
“Live Unlimited is a really important way of helping to make sure each child who spends time in our care has the same life chances as everyone else.”
Councillor Reuben Thompstone, Chairman of Barnet Council’s Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee, said:
“Live Unlimited is a fantastic new initiative. I’m delighted that it will open up a whole range of opportunities for our looked after children which complement the services and support we provide. Whether it is making a donation, or organising a fundraising event, I would like to encourage people to get involved and lend their support to Live Unlimited.”
Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so online by visiting liveunlimited.org.uk
Anyone wishing to get involved in a fundraising event can email firstname.lastname@example.org