Understanding the Importance of Shared Identity for Care Experienced People

Marissa, a member of Who Cares? Scotland, is currently in her final year studying Community Development. Her dissertation topic is looking into shared identity of Care Experienced people.

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My name is Marissa Roxburgh, and I’m a member of Who Cares? Scotland. I’m currently in my final year at the University of Glasgow where I study Community Development.


The course is about supporting people and communities to take action on issues that are important to them or have an impact on them. Some modules include approaches to exclusion and marginalisation in communities, social justice and arts media in the community. One of my favourite modules has been Power and Empowerment as it was really thought provoking.


I have always been attracted to community development. Since I was 12, I have been involved in youth clubs, when I was invited to take part in a transition programme from p7 to high school, which was around the same time I had moved school and into kinship care. I found the community workers were always supportive, especially when I was having a hard time. I knew I wanted to give something back, so studying it seemed like a perfect fit.


I never thought I would go to university but now with graduation just around the corner, I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved. It has opened me up to new ideas and pushed me out of my comfort zone.


After I graduate, I’m hoping to do a bit of traveling around Europe while still being involved in youth work. I also want to save up some money and do a working holiday in Canada. Long term, I want to eventually get a job in community development. Ideally something with a bit of variety that will also let me have time to be involved in delivering the Duke of Edinburgh.


But before then, I need to complete my dissertation which is a small research project. Drawing on my own experiences and interests, I’ve decided to investigate the shared identity and sense of belonging of the Care Experienced community.


Initially, I was thinking about doing something on relationship-based practice. But I was at a training event and someone was talking about the idea of identity and community – that struck a chord with me. I started thinking about doing something around that which led me to identity and belonging.


Being involved in Who Cares? Scotland has been very important to me. Having a space to be around people with similar experiences has meant a lot. So, I wanted to explore what other people felt and if it was important to them.


The title of my research project is ‘How important is shared identity and a sense of belonging for the Care Experienced community?’. I picked this question, as having the opportunity to be with people with similar experiences to me has helped me feel a greater sense of belonging, which I think is important for our community as it allows us to have conversations that can bring about change. I want to find out what other people’s experiences have been and for those who don’t have this experience to explore what could have been improved for them.  


I’d love the opportunity to hear from Care Experienced people and to include them in my research. If you are a Care Experienced adult (18 and over) from Scotland and would be interested in taking part, please contact my student email: 2501723r@student.gla.ac.uk


This study has been reviewed and agreed by the School of Education Ethics Forum, University of Glasgow.