The Care Experienced Tartan

For Tartan Day we’re looking back at the journey of our Care Experienced tartan and what it represents.

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Celebrated on the 6th of April, Tartan Day is a North American celebration of Scottish heritage which began in Canada. The date marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath which was signed in 1320.

Dating back to the 3rd or 4th century, wearing tartan is used to represent the clan, or family, a person belongs to. However, for many Care Experienced people the concept of wearing tartan to represent family can be complicated.

Many Care Experienced people have been looked after by those other than their birth parents. This could be in foster care, kinship care, residential care, secure care and adoption. They may have experienced multiple placement moves and have been separated from their brothers and sisters. All of which can make their own sense of a family feel more fraught.

That’s why in 2013, at our Listen campaign event in Edinburgh, we consulted with our members around designing a tartan for the Care Experienced community. Shortly after, we commissioned Black Cherry Studios to create it. The ‘Care Leavers Tartan’ was the result and this first iteration included the words ‘love’, ‘care’ and ‘listen’ throughout the design.  


The tartan is colourful and vibrant and made up of five different colours. These main colours represent different aspects of Who Cares? Scotland: pink – love, blue – equality, respect – yellow, teal – belonging and dark green – voice.

During our 2021 rebrand, these colours become our brand colours and the tartan was included in our new logo.

Growing and evolving alongside us as an organisation, the ‘Care Leavers Tartan’ has changed as well, it is now called the ‘Care Experienced Tartan’ to be more inclusive of the Care Experienced community.

But one thing has always remained the same – our tartan represents the fact that all Care Experienced people belong to a global community. They are unique, diverse and all connected by their shared experience of care.

Since its launch, our tartan has been worn by Care Experienced people around the world but also by those who wear it as a mark of solidarity and support. This includes some famous faces including Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Ellis, Nicola Sturgeon and now First Minister Humza Yousaf, as well as our regular donors.

You can get one of our 100% lambswool tartan scarves by signing up to a £15 monthly donation. Find out more here.

By wearing the Care Experienced Tartan with pride you can show your support, understanding and solidarity with the Care Experienced community.