A groundbreaking support scheme run by care leavers for care leavers is hoping to help vulnerable young people for a second year Christmas running.
Named in memory of a 23-year-old care-leaver, Topé, who took his life several years ago, the Tope Project helps care leavers and held its first festive event last year, allowing those who live alone to enjoy Christmas Day in a safe environment (the pictures here are from last year’s event).
Youth worker, Shalyce Lawrence, 24, who was in care for 10 years and considered Topé “like a brother”, started the volunteer-run project because some of Topé’s friends had nowhere to go. The group is raising £5,000 to make the Christmas event happen for around 80 young people. While the law was recently changed to allow young people in care to be supported beyond 18, Christmas and New Year – times when most people are with family – can be an isolating and difficult experience for many young people in care.