Last year when I had a mental breakdown following 6 days of mania, confusion, paranoia, Euphoric highs, I was literally on high alert, I had an over active mind and I crashed into a depressive state. Then I found the Rees Foundation, a charity for previously looked after children, care leavers.
Only a few years young this national charity goes further than many across the country, they help to empower care leavers of any age, I am 32 and Nattylyn another service user is 36 they have supported us, linked us to each other and provided us with respite from our difficult and stressful lives right now.
If you have left care and feel ready to truly move forward in life and dream again then the Rees Foundation is for you, Afshan the Project Development Manager, initially contacted me, she LISTENED. A few months back I got invited to a Revolution event organised by Rees Foundation, and met other care leavers like myself, we looked at personal development, education and employment.
It was such a great day and an experience I will remember forever, I met some lovely people who finally understood me and I understood them.
On the train journey home, I started singing and someone said you have a good voice, I rebutted the compliment as I struggle to accept them, we all started singing and I was like we should do a Rees Foundation Choir. Little did I know Voices Matter were born.
Voices Matter Perform Mad World at the Big Sing Off 2016.
The audience was 700 strong, the atmosphere was fun, emotional and energetic, full of happy children currently living in care and full of foster mums and dads.
Remember from my own experiences what you see in front of you with one of these kids is not what they have experienced, all of these kids have suffered trauma of some sort, some were sexually abused like me, some were simply not wanted or taken away from voilent homes or abusive parents.
One child said “this is the best day of my life’
He wasn’t wrong I had an absolutely amazing time and some very much needed fun and relaxation. There was Greg a care leaver on the KeyBoard (out of sight) Zion, Son or Nattylyn (a care leaver) Carlena (Care Leaver) and Myself and a special appearance from another care leaver Ian. Below is the performance, this was arranged only a few weeks ago and we had our first rehearsal the day before, we had no sound check on the day, but we had so much fun!!!
Just like at the Full Council Meeting, this performance took me outside my comfort zone, I was bricking it, the last time I was on stage was 14 years ago.
How Did I Feel After The Performance……AMAZING!!!
It was hard to leave that special day behind and come back to the emergency accommodation I am in, after becoming diagnosed last week with Bipolar whilst I am happy to have a reason for being the way I am, I have a fresh determination to push forward and expose the conditions in these places and the scandal of what it is doing to care leavers like me.
We need to push for better services for children in care and care leavers because we have a voice and our Voices Matter.
Finally I never ask for personal support, however the Rees Foundation rely on Grants and Donations, if you were touched by this then head over to the Rees Foundation Website and donate and help us care leavers to continue doing this every year.
Picture gallery of the Day will be uploaded soon.