People who grew up in care or foster homes are sharing their inspirational stories and revealing how that experience helped shape their military careers in a new podcast series.
The Ministry Of Defence is releasing a new series of podcasts featuring care leavers across Defence as they speak first-hand about their personal experiences and careers to mark Foster Care Fortnight, May 10 to 23.
LISTEN: Care Leavers' Stories
Each has a unique story to tell but they all have one thing in common – the achievements they made in their military careers and how they can inspire others across Defence.
In this series, made by BFBS for the MOD, you will hear from five service personnel – Corporal Eden Carr, Leading Hand Writer Louise Dorsett, Lieutenant Colonel Tracy Wright OBE, Lieutenant Jay Jay Rainford and Commander Paul Thomson MBE.
It will also feature two experts in the field, Professor Mike Stein and Paul Skidmore from Leeds City Council who have both contributed significantly to the care leavers work in Defence as external subject matter experts.
They provide a narrative to help increase the MOD’s collective understanding to help them support and enable others to reach their full potential.
In 2018, the MOD became one of 250 organisations which include Dunelm, Sky, ITV, Liverpool FC Foundation and Thames Water, that have signed the Care Leavers Covenant - a promise to provide support for care leavers aged 16 to 25 and to help them live independently.
The series will cover a whole range of topics from service personnel's experiences in care, to why they chose a career in the Armed Forces. You will be able to follow their career journeys including successes and proudest moments along the way and explore how Defence has adapted and developed its care leaver policies over recent years.
Leading Hand Writer Louise Dorsett, who features in the podcast series said:
"Not a lot of people know even how to approach the subject of people being in care.
“When it has come up in conversation, I feel like people are sometimes a bit taken aback or they don’t know what to say, or they almost feel sorry for you, and it shouldn’t be like that.
“I think, just making Senior Leaders and people in a management level more aware that it is a big part of somebody’s life and understand that not everyone is just brought up in a normal family home is important.”
LISTEN: BFBS, The Forces Station broadcaster Tim Humphries speaks to Louise about what it was like to be put into a care home at six years old
IMAGE CREDIT: The Fostering Network
Royal Navy Lieutenant Jay Jay Rainford, is pragmatic when talking about his time in care in the series. He says he was able to use it as a springboard to a better life:
"It was a positive thing for me personally, because I know that if I hadn’t have gone into care I wouldn’t be where I am today."
LISTEN: Lieutenant Jay Jay Rainford
Col Tracy Wright OBE, who also stars in the podcasts, tells us how she wanted to be in the military from a young age after joining the Army Cadets. Talking about her experience in the Forces she said:
"You really can meet friends for life.
“And actually, the Army has taught me that, no matter where you came from, what your beginnings were - the world is your oyster."
LISTEN: Col Tracy Wright
Since 2018, Defence has been exploring the experiences of people serving who have a care background, and what they have learned along the way.
Defence has demonstrated its commitment to this covenant in various ways, including participating in the care leavers internship scheme by providing internships for care leavers within Defence.
They have also been engaging with local authorities, charities and voluntary organisations to learn how best it can support care leavers and groups working with them across Defence.