Young carers look to the future following grant award

A North East charity has received £10,000 from The Bernicia Foundation to support care leavers and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to build their confidence, grow their self-esteem and develop their personal and employability skills.

Headliners will support 30 young people who are transitioning out of the care system and those with SEND who are moving towards independence from care through its unique Tyne on Your Side project. Participants will learn digital and media skills to create content and speak about the issues that affect them, leading to the production of a portfolio that will enable them to gain their Level 1 Open College Network (OCN) London qualification.

The young people will also learn the basics of building their CV, job searching, managing their money in the future, budgeting and interview practise, all designed to get them ready for new employment opportunities.

The project aims to bridge the support and skills gap faced by young people leaving care. Currently, 31% of children leaving care have no qualifications and 35% of care leavers aged 19 are not in education or employment.

Headliners will work with its extensive partnership network to offer advice and signposting to Tyne on Your Side participants, to help them access further education, employment and/or volunteering opportunities and experiences.

Holly Ayrton, Headliners’ Charity Manager, said: “Young people have told us that they are often disillusioned and suspicious of the “system”. They feel like they are left out in the cold at the point of leaving care.

“Headliners believes in the importance of young people’s voices and we aim to provide personal support and professional development to allow care leavers to transition to independent living with confidence and hope for the future.

“The Inclusion Grant from The Bernicia Foundation has enabled us to develop a fantastic programme that will give care leavers the means to make good choices in their own lives.”

Headliners will deliver over 200 sessions to 30 young people in Northumberland and North Tyneside through the Tyne on Your Side programme.

Jenny Allinson, Director of The Bernicia Foundation, added: “Young people in care have so much to give to our communities and they deserve the best support to build independent lives as they transition out of the care system.

“Headliners’ Tyne on Your Side programme is the perfect combination of practical employability skills and personal development to build young people’s confidence about their future.

“I’m so pleased that we can support young people at this crucial time in their lives and I can’t wait to see what they achieve with their qualifications, ideas and creativity.”

Bernicia Foundation will open its next round of funding on Monday 1 July 2024, with Inclusion Grants of up to £10,000 available to voluntary/community groups, registered charities and social enterprises that deliver projects to tackle economic and social exclusion, and Inspiration Grants of up to £1,000 for young people, aged 24 years and under, who are actively working towards personal goals.

Picture shows Headliners manager Holly Ayrton.

For more details about Bernicia Foundation, go to