This National Care Leavers week (25 Oct – 3 November) Somerset County Council is highlighting the need to recruit more ‘Stepping Stones’ carers to support care leavers as they enter adult life.
Stepping Stones carers support young people with the challenges they face as care leavers and help them achieve their potential. The young people, aged 16 and over, can then make the step into independent adulthood and gain crucial life skills and experience to help them make the transition.
Sue in Frome is a Stepping Stones carer and she explained why it works for her: “Having made the decision to take early retirement I was considering various options for increasing my income such as casual or part-time work. The more I read about the Stepping Stones programme the better it seemed to suit me.
“I felt I had the necessary skills to be able to offer young people practical support, had suitable space in my home, and I wanted to give it a try!”
One young person shared what the dedication of her Stepping Stones carer meant to her: “She is always there. She cares about me and wants what’s best for me. It’s helped me on my way to independence”.
Councillor Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “We are so grateful for the hard work and dedication of our Stepping Stones carers. We need to recruit 17 more of them to meet the needs of young people leaving care in the county. The scheme is invaluable in helping the care leavers gain life skills such as shopping, cooking, budgeting and cleaning, and enabling young people to move on to independent living.”
Stepping Stones placements are relatively short; anything from a few months to a couple of years and a Stepping Stones carer can continue to work alongside their caring role.
• To be over 21
• Have a spare room
• To ideally live in or very near a Somerset Town to allow young people easier access to study and/or work
• Enjoy a challenge
• Have a sense of humour and flexible approach.
• We have an improved offer for all our carers including excellent support and training, extra discounts on shopping and travel and a competitive weekly fee in recognition of the care they provide.
• There no upper age limit, wisdom and experience are a bonus. We welcome people from all backgrounds and ethnicities, those who are single, LGBT, renting or if you have children of your own already – we would love to hear from you.
For more information on Stepping Stones caring and fostering in general please visit fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk or call 0800 5879900 or follow us on Facebook/twitter ‘fosteringinsomerset’ @fostersomerset