Can you introduce yourself please?
My name is Hannah and I am 23 years old, I have been in care since I was 14. I have just graduated from a 2-year foundation degree in Working with children, young people and families and I am now topping up my degree with a BA Honors degree in the same subject.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I enjoy playing football and I enjoy helping people.
What was it like when you first went into care?
When I first went into care with my two siblings it was very scary, and I didn’t want to go there despite how bad things were at home. Being removed from your house and told you wasn’t allowed to go home and that you had to go and live with complete strangers was horrible, the only good thing, I was with my two siblings so none of us was alone.
“I didn’t want to go there despite how bad things were at home”
Overall, what has your care experience been like?
My care experience has been a roller-coaster of ups and downs via support from professionals and the local authority from people changing their positions or new social workers which just demolishes your trust. I’ve experienced good support and also very bad support and sometimes was very let down especially as a looked after child
What is your favourite childhood memory?
My favourite childhood memory was playing football at a high standard when I was just 18 which I got the top goal scorer at my club and I loved playing
What is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement to date was graduating from my two years of foundation degree.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
I have faced a lot of challenges especially through battles with my mental health just trying to get out of bed some mornings are sometimes impossible.
Has your past had a positive or negative effect on your future?
My past has affected me negatively because I have suffered the sense of rejection and loss and trying to build relationships again. The past has also made me suffer mental health issues with depression and anxiety which causes me issues every day.
My past has given me positive factors for my future because my foster carers have given me a suitable home to grow as a person and a platform to succeed. It has also allowed me to want to change the future of other children and young people in care by giving me the opportunity to possible work with these people and try and make things better for them because I can say I have been in their shoes.
What has driven you?
The support of my brother and sister, my family, my foster carers, my boyfriend and his family, my few friends and some amazing people on social media.
Who is your role model?
Justin Bieber, he was been since I was 13.
What keeps you going?
The fact that I hopefully in the future can help support children and young people and hopefully make a positive change in their lives and I also hope to inspire others from my story.
The people I have mentioned in the what has driven me to succeed are the same people who keep me going.
“The support of my brother and sister, my family, my foster carers, my boyfriend and his family, my few friends and some amazing people on social media”
Have you ever felt like giving up?
Yes but I have this saying.. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there’.
How much have you changed since you left care?
Even though I have suffered certain negative factors that affect my life, I have become a stronger person and I am wanting to make a difference to other people in my situation and hopefully continue to be happy in my life and appreciate everything that I have in life, it’s been a real eye opener and that the main thing in life is love, if the world and everyone in it could just love each other, then the world would be a better place.
Do you think you were ever judged or labeled for being in care?
Oh yes! Always at school there was rumors going round about me and my siblings, people would always talk about you like you was different or weird and not the same because you would get treated differently.
When did you start to believe in yourself?
My pastoral manager once said some lovely words to me when I was 16 at school, and from that day on it made me realise to focus on me and my dreams!
Did you ever feel alone?
Yes, I don’t have many real friends which makes me feel isolated. My real best friend is amazing and without her I’d be nowhere. However, as you get older in any walks of life you seem to realise who your true friends are. Also because I suffer depression and anxiety it can make you feel alone and isolated even though really there are people around you, but again for me, it all comes down to when you are alone in your bedroom with just you and your mind is when you really feel alone.
Did your foster parents help you?
Yes, I have had one set of foster parents and I still live with them now 9 years later, they support me daily and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“they support me daily and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today”
What’s your message to children in care?
Never give up on your dreams, if you want to be someone or do something you can, not just to people in care but to everyone, especially who’s come from a difficult background or upbringing.
It also doesn’t have to be university, it could be anything you want to achieve in your life, go for it and don’t let anybody or anything hold you back.
If you could change anything about your life what would it be and why?
We are all given our own walks of life for a reason… sometimes we all wish we knew the reason why, if I wanted to change anything about my life then I wouldn’t be the person I am today and wouldn’t be where I am today or achieved what I have up to this day and I also wouldn’t have the people in my life who I do have now.
However, if I could change anything about my life it would be that my family was together back in time with no outstanding issues and that we could just be one big happy family with nothing but LOVE.
What do you think about care now?
I think care is such a big subject that there is not one word or feeling that sums up what I think about being in care/being a care experienced person, if one word is close to that it would be that thinking about care is a ROLLER-COASTER.
“keep the child/young person’s interests at heart and to make sure you always listen to them”
What is your message to professionals and foster carers?
To professionals it would be to keep the child/young person’s interests at heart and to make sure you always listen to them and to make sure you make them feel valued and always go that extra mile to make sure they are okay and supported.
To foster carers it would be… You are all amazing people and I’d like to thank you for what you all do, without you guys people like me would be anywhere in this world, with no guidance in life, no life experiences, no life skills or lessons, no idea on how to love or be kind, we would have no chance or platform to try and succeed and be something or someone instead of a ‘kid in care’.
Is there something you’re most proud of?
Becoming the person I am and continually growing as a person and finding who I am and what I want to be and what I want to do in my life and the things like finishing school with GCSE’S, finishing college with a level 3 qualification, and to graduating at university and now taking on further study!
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there”