As much as possible we aim to be collaborative in our work. This means working closely with local authority leaving care teams, arts organisations, and other organisations that work with care leavers. We feel that the potential for multi-agency working is huge, and when it’s done right it maximizes opportunities for care leavers as well as making staff’s lives easier.
First and foremost, we collaborate closely with leaving care teams. Each Element project partners up with one local authority, and we work with their social workers and personal advisors to gather referrals. This ensures that we can spend time with staff, conveying a clear idea of what the project entails and what the benefits are to young people. We know that often staff will know the best way to introduce our projects to a particular young person, and what might pique their interest. This also allows us to tailor our sessions in order to provide the best possible emotional health support for young people leaving care.
The Voice of Care Leavers in the Tate Britain (and others!)
We also love collaborating with arts and cultural institutions. The opportunities we have been offered by the teams at the Tate Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Soho Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre and the National Theatre (to name a few), have been fantastic and hugely appreciated by our young people. These come in different guises: we often need spaces to host our end of project events that exhibit our participants’ work, the last of which we held at the Tate Britain. We also aim to offer the care leavers in our network tickets to plays and exhibitions around London. The big art and cultural institutions have so many fantastic resources, usually accompanied by active participation teams who do great work on engaging young people, but sometimes care leavers slip under the radar. Forging these links is a win-win for everyone!
Additionally, we like to keep in touch with other organisations working with care leavers. Places like Drive Forward Foundation and Working Chance offer great opportunities for employability support that are great to signpost on to. As much as possible we also aim to share learnings and continue working on ideas to improve society’s offer for care leavers. Back in February we held a breakfast with a mixture of social workers, relevant organisations, local authority representatives, therapists and education specialists to discuss how to make the process of leaving care the best it can possibly be, and how we can all apply those principles to our work and future innovations.
A big thank you to our collaborators so far and here’s to more great work to come! If you are interested in collaborating with us in some way, please feel free to get in touch.