Natasha Benjamin

Introduce yourself please…

Hi I’m Natasha Benjamin. I am founder and director of Free Your Mind which provide Child Domestic Violence & Mental Heath support and raise awareness.

Do you mind telling us the reasons you went into care?

I was taken into kinship care when my mum was sectioned. 

How did you feel about going in care?

At the time I didn’t even know it was care, but I knew I’d be moved elsewhere no-one explained anything about it to me.

“At the time I didn’t even know it was care, but I knew I’d be moved elsewhere no-one explained anything about it to me”

Whats your favourite childhood memory?

Listening to music and good times with my mum.

What is your biggest achievement?

Creating my Childhood domestic Violence service Free Your Mind which supports children and young people affected by domestic violence.

“Creating my Childhood domestic Violence service Free Your Mind which supports children and young people affected by domestic violence”535234_1209368692424009_929487108518353074_n

Overall, what has your care experience been like?

I didn’t enjoy it at all.

Has your past had a positive or negative effect on your future?

Sadly it was negative.

What has driven you?

The need to survive and get through, to also make a better life for myself and my mum.

“I was driven by the need to survive and get through, to also make a better life for myself and my mom”

Who is your role model?

My mum, my mentor, Kay Oldroyd and Oprah!

Have you ever felt like giving up?

Many times.

What keeps you going?

The want to survive knowing that i have something to live for and my sisters

Do you think you were ever judged or labeled for being in care?

I don’t think so.

When did you start to believe in yourself?

I only started to believe in myself about 5 years ago, when Ii realised my purpose in the world

“I only started to believe in myself about 5 years ago, when Ii realised my purpose in the world”

Did you ever feel alone?

Often.

Did your foster parents help you?

No.

What’s your message to children in care?

To trust yourself, we are brought up not being told to trust our own feelings and do as other people say, this means any of us don’t learn or understand our own instinct or gut feeling. Knowing this is power don’t let anyone else’s feelings overtake the feeling you get from your instinct, it is there for a reason

HOME PAGE PICTUREWhat was it like when you first went into care?

It was confusing, as i said i didn’t even realise I was in care, I was just suddenly moved living a new life and wasn’t told anything about it.

“I was just suddenly moved living a new life and wasn’t told anything about it”

If you could change anything about your life what would it be and why?

I wouldn’t change a thing. Maybe some decisions I have made, but then everything led me to where I am now.

“Everything led me to where I am now”

In the difficult moments what kept you going?

The need to survive, and my mum.

10665835_1476901722584536_1111494809946310968_nHow did it feel proving people wrong?

Amazing 

What do you think about the care system now?

I just hope that it better communicates and supports people better now than it did in the 90’s.

“I just hope that it better communicates and supports people better now than it did in the 90’s”

What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?

Determination, finally listening to my own instinct.

How do you become successful despite a care background?

By trusting your own voice and letting that lead your pathway.

“By trusting your own voice and letting that lead your pathway”

13700075_1359247387436138_7588333863236685746_nIs there something you’re most proud of?

So many things I’m very proud of my two little sisters 🙂

“I’m very proud of my two little sisters”

What is your message to professionals and foster carers?   

I just hope that they better communicates and supports people better now than it did in the 90s!

You can follow Natasha’s work on Facebook. As part of her work Natasha creates video blogs to encourage inspire and reach out to people, see below where she talks about ‘Being Your Authentic Self’. 

13346977_1335550263139184_369302140336384865_n

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