Carly, 21, from Weston-Super-Mare, felt deserted and struggled to live independently after 13 years in care. Today she is brimming with confidence, something she attributes to her involvement with The Prince’s Trust.
Carly was placed in care from the age of five and her time as a looked-after child wasn’t easy. Her first placement was one of many to break down.
“Life wasn’t easy for me growing up. When you spend time in care, you wonder if you are there because you aren’t good enough to be loved.”
It wasn’t until Carly was placed at the age of 13 that she began to receive the support and stability she had always craved. However, when she turned 18, she decided to live independently.
“I loved my foster parents, but after 13 years in the system, I was encouraged to live on my own, only it wasn’t how I’d imagined. I was lonely and everything got on top of me. It was like lots of the stuff that happened to me when I was young had come back to haunt me.”
Carly sank into a depression and needed medication and counselling to help her cope. Closing herself off from the world, she sought comfort in drink and quit work and education opportunities before giving them a chance.
Her confidence was in tatters when she joined the Team programme, a Prince's Trust programme run in partnership with Bridgwater College that gives unemployed young people the skills and confidence to find work.
Rising to different challenges on the programme, Carly became more patient, discovered she had talents for problem solving and organising others, and felt a real sense of worth on a community-based project.
“One of my proudest and biggest achievements on Team was leading our community project. We designed a garden at a local school and I discussed our ideas with the head teacher and feed her thoughts back to the group. It worked out really well, and it felt good that I’d helped make it happen.”
Carly went on to complete an access to further education course, and is now studying social work at Sheffield Hallam University.
“Team helped me persevere when I wanted to give up. I can honestly say it has changed my life. Growing up, I had good and bad social workers and it made me determined to qualify in the subject so that I could become one of the good ones."