Having had first-hand experience of care himself, Alex has been involved with VOYPIC as a young person, and now as a member of staff. He hopes to help rid the stigma around care experience and to meet a wide range of young people from varying backgrounds.
How did come to work at VOYPIC?
I started working with VOYPIC in February. I had been a young person in care before starting. So I had been involved with VOYPIC through the Newshounds and through the planning for the first Care Day. I had also been involved in the Removed play so through those experiences I had engaged with VOYPIC and learned about them and met the staff team. I suppose after qualifying in social work and working in social work for a few years, and wanting to change over, I knew that once I left the Trust, I knew it would be VOYPIC that I would want to go to. So I’d kept an eye on their socials and eventually applied for one of the jobs.
Why did you want to work at VOYPIC?
I wanted to work with VOYPIC because I had grown to know who they were and experienced working with them, and I suppose for me, more specifically wanting to use my own care experience as a basis for helping other young people in care. I suppose I did that voluntarily with the stuff that I had done with VOYPIC before, and using my qualification and experience to do that within a work context for VOYPIC once I started with them. But the main reason has just been wanting to use my own experience to benefit other young people.
What do you hope to achieve during your time at VOYPIC?
I hope to learn about various other young people that I haven’t had experience working with. For example, working with young people with disabilities, young people who have moved over from other countries. So just to learn as much as I can about all the breadth of the young people that we work with and to support and benefit the care experience they have and hopefully improve the system for any young people to come.
What impact do you want to make with VOYPIC?
Advocating for the young people that I work with but on a wider context. Taking that advocacy to a structural level as well. Trying to change not only the experience for young people individually but also young people across the whole system. And culturally change the understanding and recognition for care experience and hopefully make it that it’s more of an accepted reality for the 4,000 of us that there are. That are currently in the system. But I suppose also to make it so that their experience of care is as positive as it can be.
If you had to describe VOYPIC in one word, what would it be?
It’s been an organisation that obviously wants to support young people. It’s given me lots of opportunities. It’s helped me in terms of the things that I’ve been involved with, in developing confidence and being able to express my own experience and use that to advocate and support other people’s understanding. So I suppose supportive to the individual young people but supportive of sharing care experience in a positive and realistic life to other people.