We enable looked after children and young care leavers in the borough of Barnet to unleash their individual talents and passions by providing access to hobbies, training and learning opportunities, sports and leisure activities.
We are passionate about helping every looked after child and care leaver in the borough of Barnet feel valued and supported as they move towards becoming independent adults.
We offer Driving Ahead, a package of 30 hours of driving lessons and driving test for young care leavers up to the age of 25, provided in partnership with the AA.
Our other scheme, the Imagination Trust, is currently on hold while we develop and improve it to make it even more empowering for the young people that we serve.
We believe that all children who spend time in Barnet’s care should have equal chances to lead happy and fulfilling lives. “At the heart of everything we do is a vision that every looked after child and young care leaver should have the same chances in life as a child living with their birth family,” John Hooton, Chair
In 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, we saw the impact digital poverty was having on young care leavers, those living alone with no home WiFi and limited data on their phones, unable to connect to college or work, their friends, watch a film or follow the news. We heard harrowing stories of them spending hours each day in silence with nothing to do. Our Give a Dongle campaign raised enough to buy 33 dongles, 29 mini WiFis, 21 media tablets, 24 sims and two smartphones, making a big difference to the lives of vulnerable young people living by themselves.
In the first half of the year, our Imagination Trust – created to encourage looked after children and young care leavers pursue interests and talent – provided 158 items, such as home gym equipment, craft materials, garden games and musical instruments to help those young people manage lockdown and maintain their physical and mental wellbeing.
Driving Ahead, our package of 30 driving lesson and the driving test for Barnet care leavers, is currently supporting six learner drivers and before lockdown 3.0 were able to sign up three more. We’ve also secured another 20 hours of extra tuition for each learner driver from the AA Foundation, to help them achieve their goal after what’s been a stop/start year. Learning to drive is a game changer for a vulnerable young person with fewer opportunities, a real boost to their confidence and independence and opens doors to employment.
Our Christmas Appeal raised enough to buy 250 gift vouchers for the borough’s most vulnerable and lonely care leavers. Missing famiy and friends over Christmas 2020 was a struggle for many of us, but it’s the norm for many young care leavers. We were thrilled with the donations we received to give these young people something to brighten up their Christmas.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to the many supporters who have helped us since we began, but especially in the last year. Your generosity has made a meaningful difference to the lives of very vulnerable young people in Barnet.
We asked the children of Colindale Primary School to draw a Christmas card to pop into an envelope alongside our gift vouchers for Barnet care leavers and were amazed by the results!!
Click on the link in the picture to see all our winners
It’s been a tough year for everyone, but especially for those who don’t have family to support them. Care leavers, young people aged 18 – 25 who have left care and are trying to live independently, have found it especially difficult. Unable to see their friends, go to college, or furloughed from work and living with job insecurity, there are no loving parents making sure they’re OK. We hope our campaign to buy Barnet’s most vulnerable care leavers a £25 Love2Shop voucher will give them a gift they deserve this Christmas. Often the only present they get this time of year is one from their social worker. With your help we can change that and make it a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons.
Live Unlimited would like to say a big thank you to Argent (Property Development) Services LLP for their wonderful donation to the Live Unlimited Christmas appeal. Their generosity means that many more care leavers spending Christmas alone will have something to celebrate. Argent’s ongoing support will ensure that Live Unlimited can help even more care experienced young people overcome the barriers that prevent them from pursuing their dreams and fulfilling their potential.
To celebrate Care Leavers Week 2020, we asked six young Barnet care leavers to share what the last 12 months has been like for them. Their stories are moving and inspiring.
Like many small charities, we saw a huge increase in demand for our services during Covid-19. We responded quickly to the needs of vulnerable and isolated care leavers in the borough when the pandemic broke out, by launching our Give A Dongle campaign to provide wifi for those self-isolating entirely alone and without access to the internet.
During lockdown we provided 64 wifi dongles and sims, 32 tablets, 4 laptops and 3 smart phones for digitally excluded care leavers. The feedback we received from the young people was fantastic, with young people telling us they were able to break their isolation and make contact with friends, engage with college work, search for work and gain employment
“You light up my life during this Covid-19 lockdown. Thank you so much for the tablet and internet sim. Now I can contact my uncle and friends,” Assad Jan
“I am really grateful for the tablet and internet Sim. Now I can contact my friends, check Facebook and look for new courses during this Covid-19 lockdown. Thank you all!” Adil Ahmed
“We’re so grateful to you and your team for providing the right thing at the right time. These young people have been so isolated. You have unburdened us, thank you.” Muzibul Alam (personal adviser)
While the immediate needs created by the lockdown may be over, the legacy of mental health issues left behind for this particularly vulnerable group are emerging at a worrying rate.
We are working hard to develop our schemes to reflect the additional support our young people need in this new world, but we can’t do this without donations.
Please visit our donation pages to see what you can do to help make a difference to the lives of these hugely disadvantaged young people.