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Birmingham care leavers service to continue following contract win

A Birmingham service that has been supporting care leavers for 15 years is to continue running after successfully tendering to provide services for at least the next two years.

The Holdings, managed by housing association Bournville Village Trust (BVT), will continue to provide accommodation and support to young care leavers in the Midlands.

Since it opened, it has supported around 270 young people aged between 16 and 19 who have left local authority care.

The number of looked after children in the West Midlands has steadily risen over the past few years with 9,240 looked after by a local authority in 2016 compared to 8,470 in 2012.

Alison Wilkinson, youth services manager at BVT, said: “It’s vital that when these young people leave care homes at 16, they have services that support their transition to being independent in their own home.

“We’re really proud to have secured this contract and to continue to provide services to some of the most vulnerable young people in the city and wider region.”

Sarah Taylor, a former resident at the Holdings whose name has been changed to protect her identity, said: “Having spent a long time without security or dependable adults, I finally found support at the Holdings.

“The people who worked with me helped me to turn my life around, they empowered me and most of all they believed in me.”

As well as providing fully-furnished flats, the Holdings also supports care leavers to gain educational and vocational goals, and the practical skills needed for independent living, such as budgeting and cooking.

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