Mark's story

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 08:58


My name is Mark Hannan. I am 32 years old and was in and out of care from when I was born until I went into independent living at 16 In total I spend almost 13 years in care. Once I left care I completed A’ Levels in Geography, English and Economics. After my A’ Levels I went to Queen’s University and got a degree in Management. I decided after university I wasn’t quite ready to get a job so I went travelling around Australia for a year. Once I finished travelling I came back to Belfast and did a PhD for almost four years in Entrepreneurship (which basically means I can call myself a Doctor but I am qualified to help no-one). After my PhD I got a job in London working for Shell, one of the big oil companies. I have lived in London for almost seven years now and I’m loving it! 

My positive experiences of living in care is I met some amazing social workers (and residential staff) who showed me a lot of kindness and showed me love where my own family didn’t. 

My message for children living in care today be is Dare to Dream, do not let your past define who you are. You can do anything you want, do not let anyone tell you you cannot do anything. Just be prepared to work hard and you can be a doctor, pop star, mechanic or social worker! But remember nothing in life is handed to you, you have to go out and get it. I hope and dream in the next 21 years children in care in are to be able to have a stable life, not the constant back and forth between care homes, foster parents or their families.

Allow children to live somewhere long enough to make friends and to feel secure. I would love it if all children in care felt that they can go to university, do apprentices or start work and that they have the necessary skills to do it. I would love it if there was a situation where the majority of children in care left with good GCSE grades rather than the minority.