“One of my friends at university needed her parents to send her money for a filling when her tooth cracked. Another needed his parents to send him money to get the train to a placement interview. Most of my friends return to live with their parents during the holidays, where they don’t have to pay rent. Care leavers and estranged students rarely have these safety nets to fall back on, and have to be fully self-reliant all year round.
The social services that were responsible for me before I turned 16 completely disregarded me as soon as I turned 16 .Essentially, I was offered no support from that point onwards. I left my foster home and became a homeless ‘sofa-surfer’, moving around different people’s houses as this was all I knew.
I had been denied my right to an education as a child, due to constantly being moved from foster home to foster home, such that I was never enrolled in any school for more than a few weeks at a time. I desperately wanted to go to school, but from the ages of 13 to 16 I never set foot inside one. Instead, it was an endless procession of foster homes which felt like prisons.
Eventually, I decided to take control of my life and, as a young adult, enrolled at the local college to sit my GCSEs. From that moment onwards my life slowly changed for the better. I completed my GCSEs and Level 3 diplomas at college before finally getting onto the foundation year at university.