New scheme means council can provide financial and emotional support to young care leavers

Care leavers are to get help with their council tax bills
Care leavers are to get help with their council tax bills

I am very proud that Nottinghamshire’s Local Offer for Care Leavers, which is now available to all care leavers up to the age of 25, has been launched and will provide the advice, support and guidance to help give them the best start into adulthood, writes Coun Philip Owen, chairman of children and young people’s committee at Nottinghamshire County Council.

The council has been working closely with the seven district councils as well as care leavers, to develop the local offer for young people which includes tips on housing and setting up home, jobs, training, money, health and relationships.

I’m delighted to say that the district councils have worked tirelessly on this offer and care leavers can now benefit from council tax payments being waived until the age of 25, which will be a huge bonus for young people setting up their first home.

Nottinghamshire is the first upper tier local authority to introduce council tax exemption across every district.

It is also the first local authority to create a joined up local offer for care leavers involving seven other local authorities.

Care leavers can also benefit from financial support whilst at university including £3,465 a year towards fees and accommodation costs paid all year round, help to access support with childcare costs while working or studying and help with securing a £1,000 apprenticeship bursary.

It is a big step for young people when they move out of care and start living on their own or with others.

They deserve the best support possible from their parents, both practical and emotional.

As corporate parents, the council wants to make sure our care leavers feel safe, supported and know where to get advice and help.

Last month, there was a business breakfast in Nottingham with more than 50 businesses attending including Boots, East Midlands Airport and Experian.

I’m delighted that so many of the businesses pledged their support through training, apprenticeships and mentoring, which will help so many young people in the future.

The council has recently taken on five care leaver apprentices and I have been impressed with the enthusiasm and dedication they have shown to their jobs.

My advice to any care leaver is visit the Notts Help Yourself website and check what help and opportunities are available.

Details about the Nottinghamshire’s Local Offer for Care Leavers can be found here https://www.nottshelpyourself.org.uk/careleaverslo

I hope care leavers will visit the site and realise that they are not on their own and that help is only a phone call away.