This year, our Avolve committee members will be introducing themselves to you in the form of blog posts. This week it is my turn to give you a little introduction, so here goes…
My name is Tegen Shipp and I am a second year Business and Management student at the University of Exeter. Alongside my studies, I am also very honoured to be the Avolve Vice-President. During my first few weeks at Exeter, I met Katie (our wonderful President) and she inspired me to be an advocate for both children in care and care leavers. Since then, I have been involved in some capacity with Avolve.
Children in care and care leavers are, in my opinion, a massively overlooked group within our society. They are very often marginalised as a whole and the stereotypes surrounding them can be incredibly damaging. You just have to delve a little deeper to find some statistics which will shock you.
Just 6% of children in care within Devon obtain their 5 A*-C GCSE’s including both Maths and English. To compare, the national average is 55%. Another particularly deplorable statistic is that a person leaving care at the age of 18 is 60 times more likely to be homeless on average. What’s worse is that I could continue with more shocking statistics all day long…
For me, these figures shout out that something needs to be done to provide support to these children and young adults. It is my personal belief that if children are given both support and opportunities, then very often they will succeed beyond all expectations. I have now made it my personal mission to try and help as many children in care as possible and raise awareness of the issues embodying the care system.
Avolve gives me the opportunity to help spearhead change within Devon and make a difference to just a few of the 70,000 children in care in England and Wales. This is just the start, and we hope that shouting about what we do and being advocates for children in care and care leavers will lead to more permanent, national change.
I hope that just reading about what we do will open your eyes to the lack of support for children in care and care leavers. Please take the time to read our website, so you can see some of the work we’ve undertaken and hopefully be inspired to get involved!