Skip to main content

Council supports the Care Leaver Covenant programme

21 November 2022

What can you do to support care leavers? That’s the question the city’s Councillors were asked at Full Council today.

Councillor Charlotte Carlyle and Councillor Jemima Laing discussed the Care Leaver Covenant and presented pledge cards to the elected members asking them to pledge their support in some way.

They want to spread the word about how the whole Council and the whole city can engage with the Covenant, to create meaningful opportunities for care leavers and support to access them.

Examples of a pledge might include:

  • providing a care experienced young person with work experience, work shadowing, internships, traineeships and apprenticeships
  • additional support such as one-to-one mentoring
  • discounted or free access to activities to broaden their horizons
  • supporting them in educational and training opportunities that will improve their vocational and educational profile and open up future employment opportunities.

The Care Leaver Covenant is a national programme that supports care leavers aged 16 to 25 to live independently.

The responsibility for ensuring that care experienced children and young people achieve good outcomes lies across the whole of Plymouth City Council. Care leavers are supported by personal advisors who offer advice, support and guidance as a young person in care prepares to leave care and stays with the young person after they have left at least until their 21st birthday. Young people can choose to have an allocated personal advisor up until their 25th birthday or to come back as and when they need support.

Currently, there are 476 children in the care of Plymouth City Council and 253 care leavers aged 18 to 25 who are supported by a personal advisor. In addition, there are approximately 200 more care experienced young people aged 21 to 25 who are able to access support from the care leavers team when they need it.

In June 2022 the Council signed a commitment for a whole city approach in line with the key principles of the Care Leaver Covenant, which are:

  • care leavers will be supported to achieve and aspire positive outcomes to maximise their life chances
  • they will be supported to be healthy, happy and safe.

Upon signing this document, the Council has agreed to demonstrate its commitment to care experienced young people in a number of ways and aims to make Plymouth the best place for care experienced children and young people to live, to grow up and are supported for when they are ready to leave care.

In return, the Covenant will use their expertise to support organisations or individuals with advice and guidance on how to best support care experienced individuals in their workplace, or as part of the pledge that they have made.

Councillor Carlyle and Laing also presented The Walk a Day in our Shoes project, co-produced by 18 care experienced young people from Plymouth. The young people have been supported by Plymouth Care Journeys, a partnership between the Council and Barnardo’s. This involves decorated pairs of white training shoes to represent the challenges, achievements and ambitions of care experienced young people. Each pair also comes with an anonymised “bio” or life story which can be read or listened to.

Councillor Charlotte Carlyle, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Children and Young People, said: “We want to see a whole city approach to supporting care leavers and we want to lead the way, as the Council, by starting off with getting the Councillors to make pledges, which is why we have presented this to our elected members today.

“I’m passionate about young people and our care leavers, and want to ensure they have every opportunity possible. As a Council, we have a dedicated Care Leavers Team who offer invaluable support to care experienced young people and I am very proud of the work that goes into supporting them. I want to ensure that we all work together to help our care leavers achieve their dreams and help them to succeed.”

Councillor Jemima Laing, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, said: “Care experienced young people often don’t have the advantage of the networks that my children or your children might have access to, that parental ‘hand’ to gain work experience or a particular opportunity – and that’s one of the reasons I am so pleased that the Care Leaver Covenant organisation is working with the Council to make support available for those who have left care.

“The voice and influence of care experienced children and young people must be at the heart of everything we do. We have worked and will continue working together in a collaborative and co-productive way, and we are encouraging the people of Plymouth to get involved and pledge their support.”

You or people you know can join others in playing a vital role by pledging what you can to support care experienced young people, as they will be supported step-by-step by the Care Leaver Covenant organisation, and our Care Leavers Team.

To find out more visit the Care Leaver Covenant website:

About the CLC - Care Leaver Covenant (