Who Cares? Scotland Announces New Partnership with John Lewis and Waitrose

Who Cares? Scotland has been announced as a nominated charity of the John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership.

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The retail chain, which incorporates John Lewis and Waitrose stores across the UK, will be fundraising for Who Cares? Scotland as part of its commitment to supporting Care Experienced people.

The news comes as the John Lewis Partnership announced its new plan to support young people leaving the care system, to find meaningful jobs.

Included within its plan, is an exciting national fundraising partnership with Who Cares? Scotland and Action for Children.

“We’ve been struck by the profound inequalities faced by children and young people whose childhoods were spent in care - who are more likely to be made homeless than go to university.

“Thousands of young people with potential are being overlooked in the national conversation and that urgently needs to change. We want to use our position as an employer and retailer to do what we can to improve the lives of children who have grown up in care and harness their potential. That’s why we’re making commitments to be there for young people who are care experienced, supporting them through those crucial life moments to ensure they are not only seen and heard, but given the tools and opportunities they need to thrive.

“But we can’t do it alone. Employers are missing out on thousands of young people with potential. At a time when many businesses are struggling to recruit.”

Sharon White, John Lewis Partnership Chairman, Speaking at the Bloomberg Equality Summit.

 

The John Lewis Partnership has already worked with councils and charities across England to create opportunities for young people, offering employability courses helping them with interview skills, CV writing and many other essential skills to support them with the interview process. On top of this, it has offered work experience and created a community of support around these young people, working with them as well as organisations such as the Essex Community Foundation, Drive Forward Foundation and Rees Foundation who have all helped shape our strategy.

Building on this and wanting to take action further. The partnership announced a range of new plans:

  1. Expanding its Building Happier Futures employment programme.
  2. A new initiative to support projects from organisations within the care sector that are working to build happier futures for children in care and those who are Care Experienced to prepare them for employment.
  3. National fundraising partnerships with Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland to support Care Experienced young people.
  4. Working with small businesses, charities and community organisations that want to hire or progress the career of someone who is Care Experienced.
  5. Creating a Building Happier Futures Advisory Group to steer the Partnership on key issues, identify where help is needed most and how best we can provide support.
  6. Supporting calls on Government from the Care Experienced community and campaign groups to improve lives of children and young people who’ve been in care. Specifically:
  • No child or young person should be placed in unsafe, unregulated accommodation.
  • All young people from care have a right to a continuous caring presence, regardless of age or postcode – removing the cliff edges that currently exist where support can stop at age 18, or in some cases even earlier.
  • A portion of the £3bn in unspent apprenticeship levy is used to provide targeted support for those leaving care to be able to afford to pursue further education while also being able to financially make ends meet.

“We are absolutely delighted that the John Lewis Partnership will use its tremendous presence and platform, to make a real difference to Care Experienced people.  We know that all children and young people need support, love and nurture in order to thrive, but for our children and young people with experience of care, those elements might not always have been present. Who Cares? Scotland is the only national, membership organisation for people who have experienced the care system. Our vision is a lifetime of equality, respect and love and at the heart of our work are the rights of Care Experienced people, and the power of their voices to bring about positive change. We provide advocacy as well as a range of opportunities for Care Experienced people to come together for friendship, connection and to feel a powerful sense of belonging.

“I am also honoured to be a part of the Building Better Futures Advisory Group. Every child in the UK should feel equal, loved and respected, and we know that so often this isn’t the reality for Care Experienced people.  There is only so much we can do within our own organisations to demand the right to better lives for Care Experienced children and young people.  This advisory group brings together significant expertise, huge potential and, most importantly, real commitment to working together to make a difference.”

Louise Hunter, CEO of Who Cares? Scotland.