What is does it mean
to be a member of Who Cares? Scotland? Basically, it’s a way to connect with other people from across
the country who are care experienced. By becoming a member, you’ll get the
chance to be recognised for being the awesome person you are; you can meet
other people with similar experiences at Who Cares? Scotland events or at local
groups; or you can even take part in shaping policy and practice in the ‘care
What does ‘care
experience’ mean? Have you ever been looked after by someone else- maybe foster
carers, or in a residential home, or by a relative that’s not your mum or dad? Or
maybe you lived with mum and/ or dad but you had a social worker? Maybe you
were adopted? That’s also care experience. It’s when other people look after
you or help your mum and dad look after you.
I was only ‘in care’
for a couple of months. Can I still become a member? Of course. It doesn’t matter if you were in care from when you were
a baby or only for a few months when you were a teenager – your ideas,
opinions, and experiences are equally important and we would love it if you
became a member!
What kind of stuff
will I get through the post if I become a member? When you first sign up as a member, you’ll get a welcome pack in the
post. This will be some information about Who Cares? Scotland and a copy of the
newest Speakout Magazine.
How often will I get
stuff? After the first welcome pack, you’ll get a copy of Speakout every 3
months and a birthday card on your birthday. If you give us your email address,
we might also contact you about different opportunities to have fun, give your
opinions and maybe even shape policy and practice about the ‘care system’. If
you also follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you will get some more information
about what’s happening across the country too.
Can I write something
for Speakout magazine? Of course! We love hearing from our members. If you want to write an
article send your idea through to Katie – firstname.lastname@example.org
and she’ll have a chat with you about it.
What happens if I
move home? That’s ok. You’ll probably have a lot to think about, but if can you
remember to email us – email@example.com – we can change your address. If you forget,
don’t worry. Maybe one of our emails or Facebook posts will remind you about us
and you can tell us to change the address then.
Can I put my
parents’ address instead of my carers? Of course you can. But again, if you want to change the address we
have for you at any time, just let us know.
I left care years
ago, can I become a member? Please do! We welcome anyone with any kind of care experience to
join us. There are lots of opportunities to meet people, take part in large
events, and even shape policy and practice.
Can I stop being a
member? Of course. It would be a shame to lose you, but if you let us know
by emailing us, we can take you off the list.
I just want to meet
people and hang out with others who have similar experiences- is this a good way
to do that? Yes! We hold big national events every year where you can come and
meet people from all across Scotland. For example, our Time to Shine Festival
at the end of October, Care Experience Week the last week of October, Care Day
in February, Summer Camp (13-17 year olds) in July. There are lots of other
events happening throughout the year. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to find
out when they are coming up and how to register.
How do find out
about the groups in my area? There’s an up to date list of local care experienced people
groups in the Speakout Magazine with details of how you can get in touch. If
you can’t wait ‘til your next copy of Speakout to find out thought, you can
contact a local Who Cares Scotland worker whose name and contact details are on
How do I sign up or
apply to go the big national events like Camp or Time to Shine festival? A couple of months before the big events, we’ll usually put
something on Facebook, twitter, or send out emails telling you how to register.
If you want help with that, get in touch with a Who Cares? Scotland Worker who
lives in your area- see Speakout or the ‘contacts’ part of the website.
Can I just go to a
group once to see if I like it? Of course. There are all kinds of groups across the country.
Some are for younger people, others for older, some have a more ‘youth group’
feel doing arts and crafts and games, and others are a bit more focussed on
changing the care system for the better. Go along, see how you like it. You’re
almost certain to make friends and find out some interesting stuff.
Are the groups
cringey? Do we have to sit in a circle and talk about our feelings? Hopefully not! Often in groups you might be asked for your ideas
and opinions based on your experiences, but you don’t have to talk about stuff
you don’t want to! The groups are supposed to be fun too so don’t worry!
It says ‘contact
your Who Cares Scotland worker’ but I don’t know anyone who works for Who Cares
Scotland- what do I do? That’s ok. On the back of the Speakout Magazine and on
‘contacts’ part the Who Cares? Scotland website there’s a list of people with
their mobile numbers. Look for your area – e,g. ‘East Lothian’ and text or call
the person who works in that area. If you are a bit nervous about doing that,
not ask your carer, social worker or another trusted friend to help you out?
I’d love to speak
about my care experience, should I become a member? Definitely. There are so many opportunities to share care experiences.
The whole point of Who Cares? Scotland is to place the voices or care
experienced people at the centre of discussions that affect people in or
leaving care. You could join a local group, or you could join in some of the
national consultations taking place. Keep an eye on Twitter or Facebook, or
stay in touch with the local Who Cares? Scotland worker to find out what’s
happening and how you can share and shape.
I’m interested in
joining the Who Cares? Scotland Board, how do I get involved? The job of the Board is to set the strategic direction of the
organisation and to make sure we’re doing what we say we’re going to do. We can
have up to 15 people on our Board. They can be refer red to as Trustees or
Non-Executive Directors. At least 5 Board members must be care experienced. In recent
years, the Chair of the board has also been care experienced. If you’d like
more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What is an annual
general meeting (AGM?) and why should I go?
How do I attend?
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is
really important because it is one of the only times in the year when our Care
Experienced Family members get to sit face to face with our board.The AGM is an opportunity for members
to raise issues (anything you want to bring to the attention of the board) or
motions (something that must be submitted in writing prior to the AGM and then
will be discussed and voted on). The event is open to all members – keep an eye
on our website and social media for information about our next AGM!
With thanks to Scottish Local Authorities, funding partners and donors who make our work possible.