At the Martin James Network, we support learning, collaboration and support any initiatives which are part of the network. This year, National Care Leavers week (26th October – 1st November)  the network hosted events, workshops, and information pieces to support care leavers  (where upon turning 18, many young care leavers  are forced to leave their placement and start to live independently before they feel ready) on our network which was led by EPIC Youth – a young person initiative through the Martin James Foundation.

Over the week we carried out 3 workshops, 1 for personal branding and storytelling led by Shane Sidaway from Tribera, An EPIC youth open day with presentations from Abba (Birmingham Care Leavers Trust), Luke Mulekezi (Business mentor for EPIC Youth) and Rachael Cole (FosterTalk). We also held a session around CV writing and application forms led by Ketan Chhatbar from The People’s team (Martin James Group). 

The EPIC Youth open day was created to demonstrate joint working with other partners such as Birmingham Care Leavers Trust. BCLT have always supported EPIC Youth by promoting the programme as well as providing referrals. Abba explained the importance of working together and what care leavers week meant. We also showcased EPIC Youth and what support can be offered. Luke explained the role of a business mentor and what young people could expect if accepted onto the programme. Rachael explained the link between Fostertalk and EPIC Youth and how they work together to raise awareness – we also advertised and asked for expressions of interest to arrange a youth board/council so they could help shape and be involved in moving EPIC Youth forward.

Lindsey Hyde, UK Programme Manager from EPIC Youth, was also asked by Lambeth council to give a presentation on EPIC Youth as part of their National Care Leavers week (Be inspired). Rennae, a young person on the programme, accompanied her and as well as answering questions from the young people explained her journey from January to be ready to launch her own business by December. Lindsey explained how the programme worked and how they could access the support by different referral streams. Shared success stories from some of the young people that are on the programme and will soon be ready to launch.

Lindsey said “It’s been great to work in collaboration with different parts of the network, care leavers trust and allow people to find out more about EPIC and the amazing work we do. We love supporting our care leavers and hope the workshops help them to learn and grow.”

Find out more about the foundation and EPIC youth by clicking here.