Hello my name is Shelly. I am 18 years old and I am a care leaver living in my own flat.  I am currently working as an apprentice for the west local area team.

I believe every child leaving care matters. I aspire to eventually work with children in care to help them to get a voice.

Care leavers are often portrayed negatively in the media. I am determined to change this!

I hope this project achieves further publicity to shed the positive light on children and young people in and out of the care system.

The challenges I face are life skills for living independently. Things happen which you don’t expect and can’t prepare for, such as washing machines breaking for example.

I’m proud to have been in care, it’s got me where I am today. It’s important to show the world that care leavers can and do achieve.

Having gone through the system, I have built the courage to pave my own future. My past has built me stronger and drives me to build a life around helping others. I want to go onto inspire and give others the same courage and self belief, being in care doesn’t define you, and you can go on to achieve.

Having being in care since the age of 9 I am now 18 and living in a flat with my partner. I work full time as an apprentice, at the council. I would like to be involved because I feel I have experienced a very wide spectrum of the care system. Both positive and negative, I’ve had experiences that should have knocked me down, but I have always managed to pick myself up. I’m confident and continue to use my personality as evidence that life can do horrible things to a person, but you have the ability to grow and use it to become a better person.