WIRRAL teenagers are part of a pilot project offering vital support to those leaving care.

Four councils across the North West, including Wirral, have signed up to pioneer the ‘New Belongings’ scheme which will see expert teams working to improve the support.

Run by the Care Leavers’ Foundation and funded by the Department for Education, it is hoped the initiative will provide a “gold standard” and become a benchmark for other local authorities.

Many care leavers are at risk of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, mental health issues and drug and alcohol misuse and the foundation are keen to introduce service which more readily available.

Janet Rich, a trustee of the Care Leavers’ Foundation said: “Care leavers have already had a difficult start in life, and independence at an early age can be incredibly difficult.

"If we are serious about these vulnerable individuals getting the start in life they deserve, we need to see a real shift in terms of support.

“This project will work intensively with a small number of local authorities, to set the bar high on how we help care leavers become independent, successful adults."

Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, said:“I regularly meet with a group of care leavers and they have helped me learn a great deal about the real difficulties that care leavers face as they make their way in the adult world. 

“What has been most striking about this group is that they don’t come to me to complain; they come to share their experiences and propose solutions.

“They were behind the concept of the ‘New Belongings’ project which we are delighted to fund. 

“Critical to the delivery of the project’s outcomes will be the central role care leavers play in delivering the project in the participating authorities.”