Another Year Bolder
On February 16 we celebrated our birthday. We are four! We have come a long way since were launched by Barnet council to provide items, equipment and course fees for looked after children and young care leavers in the borough, so they could pursue hobbies and leisure activities or undertake training, to help develop new skills, grow in confidence and improve wellbeing.
Now we have Driving Ahead, a package of 45 hours of driving lessons for care leavers plus the cost of the test, Aspire Higher, a series of networking events to connect care leavers with professionals from different industries to encourage the young people into more sustainable and fulfilling careers, and Outdoor Club, a six week activity programme for children in care aged 6-17, to play outside, try new things, take risks, enjoy tasks on the community farm.
“There are so many people to thank for helping us evolve and get this far,” says Project Manager Sue Cocker, “including LB Barnet, our trustees, partners the AA and GROW, the trusts and foundations who’ve donated, the people who’ve fundraised and the Onwards and Upwards and Family Services teams at LB Barnet. But we’d especially like to thank the amazing young people we work with, whose progress and achievements over the past four years have been so inspirational,, especially during the most challenging times. Well done to them for their hard work and successes.”
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
A HUGE THANKYOU to all our amazing supporters this year! Whether you volunteered, ran, cycled, swam, donated or campaigned on our behalf, we are so grateful for everything you have done for us this year.
2021 has been a tough but rewarding year and we are sure 2022 has more challenges in store. We are sure with your continued support, and the strength of the amazing young people we work with, we will continue to deliver schemes to reduce social isolation, develop new skills and increase employability prospects among Barnet’s looked after children and care leavers.
These wonderful Christmas cards, designed by C, 10 and A, 7, are winners of our Christmas card competition among Barnet’s looked after children. We think you will agree they spread some much needed Christmas cheer in these challenging times!
Care Leavers Week 25-31 October 2021
Barnet has 352 care leavers, he vast majority of whom live alone.
The last 18 months have been particularly tough, with reduced employment chances, social isolation and increased mental health issues.
To mark National Care Leavers week we will be celebrating their achievements and sharing some of their stories.
“If I met my younger self I’d tell him not to worry, everything is going to be ok,” Tian, 20
Tian was born in Indonesia and came to the UK when he was 10. Aged 14, he and his younger brother were taken into care and after spending a week in a residential care home they were placed with a foster family where they both still live.
Moving in with a foster family meant changing schools mid-year and making new friends but having moved multiple times in his young life Tian says he found it relatively easy to adapt.
“My foster carers helped me a lot,” he recalls. “They took me and my brother to a running club which they belonged to. One of the members of the club went to my new school and he showed me around and looked after me. He’s now in my circle of friends who I’ve stayed close to ever since.
“My foster carers are very inclusive, taking us along to family events and occasions. I don’t see them as my mum and dad as they are quite a lot older, but they are very supportive. They have two daughters, one who used to foster herself, and are lovely people.”
Tian is currently studying Zoology foundation degree course at Capel Manor, Enfield, and hopes eventually to travel and work abroad in animal conservation.
Looking back on his life, Tian says: “Me and my brother have been through so much physically and mentally. When I was younger I had to be a father figure to my brother and grow up pretty quickly. It was very tough when we first moved into foster care, but now I’m doing something I really want to do and hopeful for the future. If I was to meet my younger self I’d tell him not to worry, everything is going to be ok.”
“I am just doing my best and hopefully I will make it”
Mahmoud, 22, arrived in the UK when he was 16 and was first placed with foster carers. When that placement broke down he moved to a shared house with other looked after older children. “It was very tough in the beginning,” he says. “I couldn’t speak any English and I didn’t know anyone. It was a completely new life.”
After focussing on his studies, especially at learning English, Mahmoud got a place at college studying plumbing. He was also accepted onto our Driving Ahead scheme, a package of 30 hours of driving lessons plus the test. Mahmoud is now three months into a part-time apprenticeship with the firm MDM Plumbing. “I applied to so many companies and eventually got this opportunity. I am really pleased. I just want to get as much experience as possible and learn as much as I can.
“I’ve bought a small car, which I use to get to jobs that are all over London. One day I want to be a self-employed plumber. I am just doing my best and hopefully I will make it.”
“I have a job and a house which is normal, but it is extraordinary given the life I have lived,” Lauren, 27
Lauren went into care aged 12 and moved between various kinship arrangements and foster care settings then into semi-independent accommodation when she was 17. She lived in temporary accommodation from the age of 17 to 21 before moving into a permanent flat.
After studying for a degree in Interior Architecture at the University of the Arts London, Lauren decided to pursue a different career path working in the care profession.
She says: “I decided to work in care as it is changing someone’s life and making them feel better by doing something they are not able to do themselves.”
Lauren got as a role as carer for adults with mental health problems and disabilities and had only been in post for a few months when Covid struck. She found herself working 50 hour shifts spread over three days and left after 18 months due to the long hours and lack of progression.
Through her old personal adviser Lauren heard about the post as a Service User Involvement Practitioner in Barnet Council’s leaving care team, designed to give a voice for care experienced people in service delivery, and got the job.
Finding herself on the other side of the desk felt strange at first, but Lauren quickly adapted to the role.
“Being in the leaving care offices is familiar and I can bring the stuff I didn’t get told,” she says: “I can talk to the young people on a certain level because I’ve been through the system myself and am more relatable.”
Lauren says being there for milestone moments in a care leaver’s life has been rewarding.
“Recently I helped give someone their first flat and it felt good. I remembered that feeling of having my own place where I could paint the walls the colour I wanted, put a nail in a wall, put the washing machine on or have a bath any time I liked. I remember so clearly spending the first night in my permanent accommodation by myself. It was a good feeling but also very scary. I thought how far I have come from that person who went into care.
“I feel proud because I didn’t go down a negative road which I could easily have followed.
“I have a job and a house which is normal, but it is extraordinary because of the life that I have lived. I didn’t take the easiest route and I’m proud of myself for that.”
“I got a first-class degree despite my tutor saying I wouldn’t finish uni,” Curtis, 22.
Curtis went into the care system aged 10 and has stayed with the same foster family ever since.
From an early age Curtis developed a love of music, from writing lyrics and poetry to producing his own music.
“I find music very therapeutic,” he says. “Putting my energy and focus into music helps me forget, nothing else matters.”
Curtis took a Level 3 Btech in Music Technology at West Herts College and, on his tutor’s recommendation carried on with an HND in Music Production, the equivalent of the first two years of university.
After taking a gap year to deal with mental health issues, Curtis decided to complete his final year in Music Production at Hertfordshire University in 2019.
It was a difficult time, with further mental health challenges and Covid to contend with.
“I found it so difficult at first I thought I was going to drop out. I had a mental breakdown and thought I cannot do this,” he recalls.
“The university has an amazing recording studio but I couldn’t go in there because of Covid,” he says. “Instead I stayed in my bedroom creating music using minimalistic equipment and worked on an EP.”
To Curtis’ amazement he got a first in his degree, receiving a distinction for his EP.
“When I actually found out about my grades I was shocked,” he says. “It is ironic given my previous tutor told me I wasn’t capable of going to uni and finishing my degree. I was over the moon but five minutes later it meant nothing to me. It didn’t give me any joy at all because I have always been told I wasn’t good enough. There are days when I wake up and I’m extremely proud of what I’ve achieved but other days when it doesn’t mean anything.”
Curtis is wanting to use his expertise to pursue a career in music.
“I really want to use my skills to get into music production,” he says. “As long as it entails music in some way, I’ll be happy.”
You can listen to some of Curtis’ music here
Live Unlimited trustee Jennifer gears up for fundraising challenge
Barnet care leaver and Live Unlimited trustee Jennifer Mohammadi is taking part in the iconic London to Brighton bike ride to support other young people who have grown up in care
Jennifer knows first-hand about the support care experienced young people need. She entered the care system aged 14 and lived with eight different foster carers before moving into her own accommodation aged 19.
Despite her challenging start, Jennifer completed a degree in BSc (Hons) Cognitive & Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Westminster last summer and is now studying for an MSc Global Master of Public Health at Imperial College London. Jennifer joined Live Unlimited’s board of trustees this summer and has been crucial in helping shape its schemes for care experienced young people. Jennifer also works as an independent panel member for the Hertfordshire fostering panel, where she assesses potential foster carers with the needs of the child in mind.
As a type 1 diabetic Jennifer faces added challenges as she takes on the gruelling bike ride which involves climbing the notorious Ditchling Beacon.
She says: “The last time I was on a bicycle was when I was cycling to primary school in Germany. The need to rent a bicycle solely for the use of the event demonstrates how much of an amateur I really am.
“I’m excited to be taking part in the event, but also nervous. I will be pushing myself but at the same time as a diabetic I need to keep an eye on my condition. However understanding the significant work Live Unlimited wants to do, I feel particularly motivated to give the challenge event a good go. Ditchling Beacon seems rather daunting, but struggling alongside others in anticipation of an amazing view seems like an invaluable experience in itself.”
To make a donation to Jennifer’s fundraising page please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jennifer-mohammadi2
Good Food Shopping
Live Unlimited has been selected by Co-op stores in Barnet as a Local Cause. Co-op members select Live Unlimited as their chosen cause, then for every £1 they spend Co-op gives 2p to the charity.
Money raised will go towards our forthcoming Aspire Higher employability programme, which will connect young care leavers in the borough to business people and professionals to boost networks, increase confidence and aspiration and potentially lead to job opportunities. Each participant will get follow up support with recruitment specialists Matrix on CV writing, how to use LinkedIn, interview success and goal setting. Local Barnet employment, benefit advice, skills and wellbeing project, will offer support looking for work experience, apprenticeships and entry level jobs in different careers. It’s a programme designed to give care leavers the chance to use their skills, realise their ambitions and feel hopeful about the future.
To support our Aspire Higher project without any cost to you, go to Co-op – BOOST and select Live Unlimited from the ‘Choose a local cause’ tab. Members can choose good causes up to 15 miles away using the drop down menu. Thank you.
A Time to Celebrate
This month Live Unlimited is celebrating its third birthday. We may not have been around for a long time but the support we’ve been able to offer has made a big difference to many of Barnet’s young people in care and those leaving care. 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.
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
Christmas fundraising campaignIt’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.
Colindale Primary School children spread festive cheer with their Christmas cards for care leaversLast December we were lucky enough to hear the children of Colindale Primary School sing their Christmas carols at Barnet Council’s offices to help us raise money for our Christmas Appeal. Sadly this year we couldn’t do the same, so we asked if they could spread some festive cheer in a different way by drawing some Christmas cards to pop in alongside the £25 gift vouchers our most in need care leavers will be receiving as a result of this year’s Christmas Appeal. We were so impressed with the results!! We received more than 250 entries and after a very tough decision we have chosen the following winners to publish on our website. Abel’s card was chosen from all of the entries to be made into an e-Christmas card to say thank you to all our generous donors who have supported us this year. We loved the cheery smile on Rudolph’s face and his shiny red nose! Thank you so much to everyone at Colindale Primary School for helping make our care leavers’ Christmas feel memorable for all the right reasons this year!
Year 1 & Year 2 winners
Year 3 & Year 4 winners
Year 5 & Year 6 winners
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.
Celebrating Care Leavers Week 2020, October 26 – Nov 1
Care Leavers week is an opportunity to share the experiences, achievement and talents of those people who’ve spent some or all of their childhoods in care. Our films, featuring six young Barnet care leavers, reveal what the last 12 months have been like for them.
Click on the links below to find out how these amazing young people have dealt with life during lockdown.
We Gave A Dongle
A huge thank you to everyone who donated to our Give a Dongle fundraiser, which smashed its target of £4, 500 in two weeks and now stands at over £7,000. The campaign was launched at the beginning of lockdown, after we learnt that so many young care leavers in the borough were without connection to the internet. Living alone, with no family, small social networks, limited credit on their phones and no home WiFi, they were unable to stay in touch with their friends or social workers, access college work, follow the news or watch entertainment. We were hearing harrowing stories of these vulnerable young people sitting in silence all day, unable to go out and with nothing to do. Through our appeal we were able to buy WiFi loaded dongles and sims to connect the young people to the internet, as well as laptops and tablets for those that needed them.
“I was struggling when lockdown started. I couldn’t complete my college assignments and I was bored as I had nothing to do. When Live Unlimited gave me the WiFi dongle and laptop it meant I could progress and get on with my college work, watch YouTube and documentaries. I like history documentaries. Live Unlimited is amazing. It really helps young people when they need it the most.”
“I am a single mum working from home during lockdown, trying to take care of the house while looking after a two-year-old. We have a TV but Hakeem gets bored of that easily and it was so difficult to get anything done. The tablet from Live Unlimited occupies Hakeem. He’s able to interact with it, make art and watch cartoons. He loves playing an alphabet game and it’s amazing watching him develop and learn. I am so grateful.”
Charity celebrates success helping young people in care to learn to drive
Just a few short months after Live Unlimited launched a scheme to support young people in care to learn to drive they are celebrating their first success.
Georges Marving Yombe, 20, has become the first candidate to rip up his L plates after just 30 hours lessons and is excited about the opportunities that Live Unlimited’s ‘Driving Ahead’ scheme has given him.
As some of the most vulnerable members of society, the life chances of children taken into care are significantly poorer than their peers raised by their birth families. Live Unlimited is passionate about helping Barnet’s looked after children and care leavers fulfil their potential and meet their aspirations. Their vision is that every child who spends time in Barnet’s care should have an equal chance to lead a happy and fulfilling life as a child living with their birth family.
The scheme, which is funded by Live Unlimited and delivered by AA Driving School driving instructors, follows a successful pilot set up by the AA Charitable Trust, Bristol City Council and Bristol University which demonstrated that driving lessons were of huge benefit to young people who have grown up in the care system.
‘Driving Ahead’ enables 12 young people like Georges to have 30 hours free driving lessons and take a driving test. This experience would otherwise have been unobtainable to them before due to the high cost of driving lessons.
Georges said: “This has given me a massive boost, I can apply for certain jobs and be a lot more independent. I had been saving up for driving lessons but I was struggling to put money aside on top of my daily expenses.
“The Driving Ahead scheme has given me the confidence to be on the road and made me feel more independent. It has also helped me move towards one of my biggest goals which is to open up a customizing garage. Now I have an opportunity to do a driving job too as a second option. It has opened a lot of doors for me.”
John Hooton, Live Unlimited’s Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “I am absolutely delighted for Georges and so pleased our scheme has helped unlock new opportunities for him.
“We want to equip Barnet’s looked after children and care leavers with the life skills to follow their dreams and I look forward to hearing all about Georges’ future plans.”
Edmund King, Director of The AA Charitable Trust, said: “I am delighted to hear that Georges has passed his driving test and wish him all best for his future career.
“We were really pleased when Live Unlimited decided to take the lessons learnt from our trial putting care leavers through driving lessons and are delighted their lessons are progressing so well.”
Lauren, Rob and Patrick put their best feet forward for Live Unlimited
Live Unlimited and Kisharon say it with Thanks
Live Unlimited and Kisharon’s trustees and beneficiaries have given a huge ‘Thank You’ to the Mayor of Barnet’s fundraising committee.
After a successful year hosting a wide variety of fundraising events, the Mayor of Barnet’s committee raised nearly £20,000 to be shared equally between each of Councillor Reuben Thompstone’s two chosen charities; Live Unlimited and Kisharon.
Live Unlimited was launched in 2018 to provide Barnet’s looked after children and care leavers* the same opportunities, support and inspiration as children living with their birth families. Kisharon offers a wide range of support services to individuals with complex learning disabilities and their families, giving them the opportunity to learn, develop and grow.
Live Unlimited Chair of the Board of Trustees John Hooton said: “I am delighted to receive this generous donation on behalf of Barnet’s looked after children and care leavers.
“Our schemes are designed to help our young people who have been in care to unlock their potential. Since our launch we have helped dozens of young people follow their dreams by funding their chosen project, buying a special item or piece of equipment and are now assisting young people with the vital life skill of learning to drive. This money will go towards helping more of our looked after young people to thrive.”
Kisharon’s CEO Richard Franklin said: “Kisharon is grateful to the outgoing Mayor of Barnet for his continued support of our organisation and look forward to maintaining excellent relations with his successor. Kisharon is a community organisation, and we take great pride in the community ethos of our school, which serves such an important purpose for the local community. We look forward to continuing to work with Barnet Council and the local community to provide opportunities to learn, work and live life independently for the entire Kisharon family.”
Councillor Reuben Thompstone, who served as Mayor of Barnet from May 2018 to May 2019, said: “The fundraising committee worked really hard this year hosting a wide range of activities culminating in our Gala Ball in May and I feel incredibly proud to have played a part in supporting these two worthwhile causes. Thanks to the committee’s achievements many of our borough’s most vulnerable children and young people will benefit from new opportunities which they may not otherwise have had access to.”
Members of the Mayor’s fundraising committee included: former Mayor Councillor Reuben Thompstone, current Mayor Councillor Caroline Stock, Gill Struthers (Chair), John Struthers (Secretary), Adele Busse (Treasurer), Penny Telfer, Lee Robinson, Mary Malde and Sue Cocker.
Fundraising events for the municipal year 2018/19 consisted of a Classical Indian Dance event, a summer BBQ, Christmas bucket collection at Brent Cross, a Quiz night, the Barnet Christmas Fayre, London New Year’s Day Parade, House of Commons Visit and the Gala Ball.
*A looked after child is defined as a young person in the care of their local authority. A care leaver is a young person aged 18 and above who has left care and receives local authority support up until the age of 25.
Why we love #SmallCharityWeek
Since our launch in February 2018 we have helped dozens of Barnet *looked after children and care leavers to thrive through our small grants application scheme, the ‘Imagination Trust’, and driving lessons scheme, ‘Driving Ahead.’
Care leaver Morris Deer, 22, from High Barnet applied for money towards a set of tools to allow him to complete his level 2 NVQ in mechanical engineering. Morris, who works as an apprentice in a car garage in Hammersmith, had already been putting money aside for his tools but living independently meant his finances were tight. His social worker Ruth Vrachimis suggested he apply for funding through the Imagination Trust for half the money towards his tool kit, which to his delight the trustees approved.
He said: “Before I applied to the Imagination Trust I had to borrow my manager’s and colleagues tools for two years. It made me feel awkward but I didn’t have a choice in the matter.
“Now I have got my own set of tools and I don’t have to ask to borrow anyone else’s. People take me more seriously now. It has given me independence and enabled me to take my qualifications to the next level. “
His social worker Ruth says: “The tool kit has given Morris a level of independence and credibility in his work placement – he is no longer the poor student borrowing everyone else’s tools. It also means he has flexibility for the future and has set him up to start his career.”
*A looked after child is defined as a young person in the care of their local authority. A care leaver is a young person aged 18 and above who has left care and receives local authority support up until the age of 25.
Driving Ahead - Live Unlimited launches new driving lessons scheme
Live Unlimited is supporting young people in care to learn to drive thanks to its latest initiative.
The trial scheme, which is funded by Live Unlimited and delivered by AA Driving School driving instructors, will enable 12 young people to have 30 hours free driving lessons and take a driving test. This experience would otherwise have been unobtainable due to the high cost of driving lessons.
Research has shown that learning to drive helps young people in care gain a wide range of benefits including boosting their feelings of self-esteem and independence, improving their employability; and encouraging relationships with adults.
Live Unlimited’s Driving Ahead scheme will see an initial three care leavers take driving lessons and undergo their practical test with the support of a personal mentor. Nine further candidates will be selected later in the year.
Applicants are chosen through a rigorous selection process with preference given to those young people in employment, education and training. As a sign of their commitment each applicant will pay for the cost of the provisional driving licence and theory test themselves. All applicants will be assessed at the beginning and end of the scheme to monitor its impact on their personal development.
John Hooton, Live Unlimited’s Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “Learning to drive is a key milestone in most young people’s lives. When it comes to looked after children and care leavers, one of the most vulnerable groups in society, there is a significant under representation amongst newly qualified drivers due to the high costs of learning to drive. We want to equip Barnet’s looked after children and care leavers with the life skills they need to reach their potential and we are very excited to be partnering with the AA Driving School to deliver this scheme.”
Edmund King, OBE, Director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: “The AA Trust has been working for some years now on projects that give looked after children and care-leavers the opportunity to learn to drive.
“In conjunction with Bristol University, we have learnt some incredibly valuable lessons from these projects and are delighted that Live Unlimited is going to be able to use these lessons to help more young people.
“Learning to drive is a huge milestone for many young people and it opens so many doors for them. I am delighted the AA will continue to be involved in this project by delivering these lessons through our AA Driving School instructors.”
Emma Harris, 18, who has been selected as one of the first three learner drivers to take part in the scheme, said: “I want to be able to drive to run own mobile hairdressing business in the future. Being able to drive would change my life for the better, give me more freedom and power to develop my own business which is my dream for the future!”
On your marks...Get fit and raise funds for Barnet’s looked after children
The recent warm weather means a chance to dust off those trainers and head to the nearest patch of outdoor space for a jog.
Whether you are new to running, run for fun or a seasoned racer, it is great to have a fitness goal to keep you motivated if your willpower starts to wane.
This iconic half marathon is now its 12th year and takes in some of the capital’s world-famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament on closed roads as well as four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens.
The public ballot for this popular Half Marathon has now closed, but running on behalf of Live Unlimited means you can still take part in this world-famous run. All you have to do to secure your place in the starting lineup is commit to fundraising a minimum amount of £400 for Live Unllimited. We’ll then provide you with a T-shirt and sponsorship forms.
If you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org by 3rd May. Multiple entries will be put into a ballot and the successful applicants contacted by 10th May.
Happy Birthday to us!
It’s our first birthday and we couldn’t be prouder about how far Live Unlimited has come in just 12 short months.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters we have raised more than £30,000 and helped dozens of young people fulfil their hopes and dreams since our launch on 16th February 2018.
Our first scheme, The Imagination Trust, has already helped more than 30 of Barnet’s looked after children and care leavers explore their unique interests and follow their passions by applying for small grants. Some examples of grants paid can be found below.
Social worker Carly McGregor, who supported two of her young people to successfully apply for kickboxing classes and a video camera, says she has seen first-hand how the Imagination Trust scheme has given Barnet’s care leavers and looked after children a real boost.
She says: “It encourages them to think about something they could experience or a hobby they wouldn’t usually be able to do. Being able to access different activities and resources is amazing for them. It makes them feel there are no boundaries or limits in life and it raises their aspirations for the future.”
John Hooton, Chair of the Board of Trustees, adds: “I am delighted that in our first year we have supported dozens of our children in care and care leavers to explore their own unique hobbies or interests. It is great to get feedback from young people about how we can help and support them to achieve their dreams and aspirations.”
You can see Carly and John talking more about the work of Live Unlimited on Barnet TV here.
Here are just some examples of the grants we have paid out so far:
- Italian summer school for a languages student
- Kick boxing lessons for a keep fit enthusiast
- Gym membership to help with young person’s self-esteem and fitness goals
- Hairdressing equipment for an aspiring barber
- Video camera for a vlogger to talk about his experiences in care
- Football kit to help a young person combat his social isolation
- Harry Potter coding kit for an IT whizz kid
- Boxing kit and lessons for a young person wanting a positive focus
- Athletics club fees for a hot shot athlete
- British Sign Language Course for an aspiring social worker who wants to help hearing impaired children
- Flights to Spain so a care leaver could complete the Santiago pilgrimage with other care leavers
- Horseriding lessons to help boost a young person’s self-confidence before going to university
- Cricket gear for a promising young cricketer
Watch this space for news of our next scheme!
Barnet residents urged to show their support for vulnerable local children this Christmas
Residents are being encouraged to support Barnet’s looked after children and care leavers to fulfil their dreams and aspirations by donating to Live Unlimited’s Christmas Appeal.
Barnet has more than 500 looked after children and care leavers. While many looked after children have a positive experience and thrive in their new environment, overall children who have been in care tend to have poorer life chances and are four times more likely than their peers to have a mental health difficulty.
Live Unlimited was launched to give looked after children and care leavers the same opportunities, support and inspiration as children living with their birth families.
In the ten months since its launch, Live Unlimited has already helped many of Barnet’s looked after children and care leavers to follow their interests and passions through its Imagination Trust scheme.
Some of the awards granted so far include:
- Paying for a languages student to go to Italian summer school to boost her employability skills
- Paying for an aspiring social worker to complete a British Sign Language course
- Buying hairdressing equipment to help a trainee barber complete his course
- Buying a coding kit for an IT whizz kid
Eddie successfully applied for funding for a return flight to Spain to take part in a 300km trek with a group of 12 other care leavers.
He says: “The grant gave me the opportunity to meet other care leavers, bond over our childhoods and build new friendships. The Imagination Trust gives young people in care the opportunity to try things they never thought they would be able to do.”
John Hooton, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “I am really pleased our Imagination Trust has already helped so many looked after young people to follow their dreams. There is still more we can do to give this most vulnerable group of people the same life chances as other children living with their birth families.
“Next year we are really excited to be launching a driving lessons pilot scheme, giving a small group of young people an opportunity to learn this valuable life skill.
“As many parents of teenagers learning drive know, driving lessons are very expensive.
“Every pound donated to our Christmas Appeal will go towards helping giving our looked after children and care leavers an opportunity to thrive. By making a donation, no matter what size, you will be helping give this group of people an equal chance in life.”
 Source: Comptroller and Auditor General (2014) Children in care (PDF).
 Name changed to protect identity
Live Unlimited helps care leavers reach for the sky during National Care Leavers Week
Live Unlimited is helping provide new opportunities for young people during National Care Leavers Week.
National Care Leavers Week 2018 runs from 24-31st October 2018. This year’s theme is Reach for the Sky which ties in with Live Unlimited’s goals of helping Barnet’s *looked after children and **care leavers to explore their passions and follow their interests through its pilot scheme, The Imagination Trust.
The Imagination Trust provides small grants for children who have spent time in Barnet’s care and is aimed at funding the sort of additional activities, experiences and equipment which families might provide for their birth children, such as theatre trips, course fees or gym membership.
By providing the opportunity to apply for small grants, The Imagination Trust is already helping Barnet’s 329 looked after children and 245 care leavers get one step closer to making their dreams a reality.
Since launching in February this year, The Imagination Trust has awarded grants to a number of looked after children as well as the following care leavers:
- Paying for Italian summer school for a 21-year-old languages student to boost her employability skills
- Paying for horse riding lessons to help an 18-year-old combat anxiety issues before starting university
- Buying equipment for a 19-year-old aspiring barber to complete his hairdressing course
Chair of the Board of Trustees and Barnet Council Chief Executive, John Hooton, said: “Live Unlimited provides support, encouragement and opportunities for Barnet’s care leavers as well as our looked after children, making sure every child who spends time in care has the same life chances as everyone else.”
Charity trustee Brett Service, who is a Barnet care leaver and works in Barnet Council’s children’s service as an apprentice, said: “As a Barnet care leaver myself I understand the positive impact the work of Live Unlimited has on the young people who access the services offered by the charity.
“It is a privilege to be part of a charity that works to inspire Barnet’s care experienced young people.”
*A looked after child is a young person in the care of their local authority (LA)
**A care leaver is a young person aged 18+ who has left care but still receives LA support aged up to 25
Live Unlimited celebrates National Cupcake Week!
Barnet Council staff marked National Cupcake Week by showing off their baking skills to rival #GBBO contestants this week.
By 2pm all the delicious delectables were sold out and we had made a very respectable £150 in donations.
The cake bake was also a great opportunity for us to spread the word about the great work we are doing and let people know about different ways they can donate.
To learn more about how you can play a part in helping Barnet’s looked after children and care leavers reach their potential, please visit our Donate pages
Donate without spending a penny through EasyFundraising
Do you shop online? Do you want to support Live Unlimited? Yes, then shop online through Easy Fundraising to donate to Live Unlimited for free!
Easy Fundraising features 3,252 of your favourite retailers likes John Lewis and Amazon. Simply choose a retailer via their website and shop. With each purchase you make, Easy Fundraising charge the retailer a commission, which is then turned into a donation for Live Unlimited.
Live Unlimited selected by Waitrose Community Matters
If you shop at Waitrose then head on down to the local Whetstone branch during August and play your part in supporting Live Unlimited.
Each month Waitrose donates £1,000 to be shared between three good causes as part of its Community Matters scheme, and we’re delighted that Live Unlimited has been selected as one!
All you need to do is request a green token after each shop and drop it in the box (in the Live Unlimited section obviously!) The more tokens we get, the bigger the donation we receive.
Why we love #SmallCharitiesWeek
Here at Live Unlimited we’re all about providing opportunities for Barnet’s looked after children to thrive and we think #SmallCharitiesWeek (18-23 June) gives us a golden opportunity for us to shout about the work we do!
Since launching in February, Live Unlimited has been helping young people follow their dreams by funding their chosen project, buying a special item or piece of equipment through the Imagination Trust. The first of our schemes, the Imagination Trust provides individual small grants designed to enable Barnet’s looked after children and care leavers to explore their passions and interests. Some examples of what we’ve funded include:
- Buying a school leaver a suit so he can look smart for apprenticeship interviews
- Paying for three months gym membership at a combat academy so a young care leaver can fulfil his fitness ambition
- Buying a video camera for an aspiring vlogger to talk about his experiences in care
- Paying for flights to Spain so a young care leaver can walk the Camino Santiago trail
- Buying a camera lens for a photography student to help her to complete her course
- Paying for Italian summer school for a languages student to boost her employability skills
Ben*, 19, applied for a video camera to help him keep a daily vlog of his life. He says: “I’m really pleased to have my own camera which means I can share my experiences in care with others. Receiving the grant has increased my morale and kept me more active than I was before. The Imagination Trust means a lot, thank you for getting me this camera, I deeply appreciate what you have done for me.”
John Hooton, Chair of Trustees for Live Unlimited, said: “I’m really excited to see the variety of applications we’ve received do far for the Imagination Trust. It just goes to show the drive and ambition of our young people and I am looking forward to seeing more applications coming through.”
To find out more about Live Unlimited and how you can donate, please visit www.liveunlimited.org.uk
* Name changed to protect identity
Live Unlimited chosen as Mayoral charity
Live Unlimited has been selected as one of the new Mayor of Barnet’s charities during his municipal year in office.
Councillor Thompstone was sworn in as Mayor of Barnet at Barnet Council’s Annual council meeting on 22nd May.
Councillor Thompstone chaired Barnet Council’s Children Education Libraries and Safeguarding Committee for four years before becoming Mayor.
He said: “I am delighted to be able to nominate Live Unlimited as a Mayoral charity for the ensuing municipal year. My roles as the Lead Member for Children in Barnet, and the Chairman of the Corporate Parenting Advisory Panel for five years have illustrated the need to give our children with care experiences the best opportunities and I am determined to support Live Unlimited in pursuing the best outcomes for these children and young people.”
John Hooton, Chairman of Trustees for Live Unlimited, said: “I am delighted the Mayor has selected Live Unlimited as one of his two chosen charities to fundraise for during his municipal year.
“I am really looking forward to working with him and together raise much needed funds to help our looked after children and care leavers follow their dreams and aspirations.”
The Barnet Group makes £10k donation to support Live Unlimited
Live Unlimited is delighted to announce The Barnet Group has provided a £10,000 funding boost towards the charity.
The Barnet Group is parent company to Barnet Homes, a social housing organisation, and Your Choice Barnet, a social care organisation for adults with learning and physical disabilities. It pledged the financial support following the successful launch of Live Unlimited in February.
Live Unlimited is a registered charity set up by Barnet Council based on the vision of providing equal opportunities, support and inspiration to all of Barnet’s 334 looked after children and 221 care leavers.
The charity will complement the extensive services and support the council provides to every looked after child, and will fund the sort of additional activities which families might provide for their children outside of school hours such as music or sport lessons, trips and expeditions.
Chief Executive of The Barnet Group Tim Mulvenna said: “We are thrilled to be supporting Live Unlimited and the essential work they will be doing with young people in our community”.
Barnet Council Chief Executive and Chair of Trustees, John Hooton, said: “I am delighted The Barnet Group has made this generous donation which will help make sure each child who spends time in our care has the same life chances as everyone else.
“We’re looking to work with other companies and organisations who would like to come onboard as founding partners as well as to offer work experience and make donations.
“Like other charities, people are able to donate money and organise their own fundraising events in support of Live Unlimited.”
Live Unlimited's Launch Party
Barnet has become the first local authority in London to launch its own charity to help looked after children fulfil their dreams and aspirations.
On 16 February Barnet officially launched ‘Live Unlimited’, a registered charity based on the vision of providing all looked after children and care leavers with the opportunities, support and inspiration to fulfil their potential and follow their dreams.
As part of the charity, Barnet has established the ‘Imagination Trust’.
This charitable trust will allow looked after children or care leavers to apply for individual small grants for activities such as football or ballet lessons, theatre trips and out-of-school activities that support them in fulfilling their own unique hopes and dreams.
The charity will complement the extensive services and support the council provides to every looked after child, and will fund the sort of additional activities which families might provide for their children outside of school hours.
Some of the many aspirations highlighted by some of our looked after children, include dreams of sporting and music careers, of becoming a professional dance teacher, electrical engineer, of joining the police, becoming a foster carer, opening their own nursery, and mastering musical instruments.
The charity aims to help the 326 looked after children and 216 care leavers in Barnet. While many children thrive in their new environment, statistically children in care tend to have poorer life chances and outcomes than other children living with their birth families.
The charity has three main themes:
- Encouraging looked after children and care leavers to follow their passions and explore their interests
- Help equip looked after children and care leavers with the life skills they need to fulfil their dreams
- Inspiring all looked after children and care leavers to succeed beyond their imagination
Like other charities, people are able to donate money and organise their own fundraising events in support of Live Unlimited.
GRAHAM Construction, who made a significant donation to help kick start the Imagination Trust and Saracens who hosted the launch and are leading on the ‘On Your Marks’ a sports and fun day, were thanked for their support.
Charity trustee Brett Service, who was a Barnet looked after child himself and now works in Barnet Council’s children’s service as an apprentice, said: “It is a privilege to be part of a charity that works to inspire Barnet’s care experienced young people. As a Barnet care leaver myself I understand the positive impact the work of Live Unlimited will have on the young people who access the services offered by the charity.”
Barnet Council Chief Executive and Chair of Trustees, John Hooton, said: “Improving outcomes for our looked after children and care leavers is incredibly important to us. While many children in care thrive, we know, statistically, they can in some cases have poorer life chances and outcomes.
“Live Unlimited is a really important way of helping to make sure each child who spends time in our care has the same life chances as everyone else.”
Councillor Reuben Thompstone, Chairman of Barnet Council’s Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee, said: “Live Unlimited is a fantastic new initiative. I’m delighted that it will open up a whole range of opportunities for our looked after children which complement the services and support we provide. Whether it is making a donation, or organising a fundraising event, I would like to encourage people to get involved and lend their support to Live Unlimited.”
Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so online by visiting liveunlimited.org.uk
Anyone wishing to get involved in a fundraising event can email email@example.com