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Staying Close: support scheme launched for young care leavers

Staying Close: support scheme launched for young care leavers
20 July 2023

A pilot project has been launched offering extra support for young people leaving care in Darlington.

Staying Close is a government-backed initiative designed to support young people as they leave care and move into semi-independent accommodation or an independent tenancy.

The first group of care leavers to take part in the projects met at Hideaway, in Duke Street, on Thursday (20 July).

Young people in the Staying Close programme have access to a named support worker, who can offer one-to-one guidance, including at weekends.

Other benefits of Staying Close include:

  • Access to a package of support for the young person’s emotional, mental and physical health, including 24-hour access and face-to-face sessions
  • A Max Card giving access to activities at a reduced rate
  • Support to access accommodation and develop independence skills
  • Support from a Lifelong Links Coordinator who can help them re-connect with family members or friends they may have lost contact with to build lasting connections.


Young people will also get the chance to meet others who have been in care, including at support groups and organised activities.

Councillor Nick Wallis, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We know that many care leavers report experiencing a ‘cliff-edge’ effect when they leave care, arising from not feeling equipped to deal with the challenges of living independently.

“The Staying Close project aims to address that, and I’m delighted to see children’s services in Darlington moving forward with this approach, which I’m sure will result in some great outcomes for our young people.”

Alisha Lynas, Head of Service for Looked After Children, said: “We are excited to add this to our already aspirational offer for our young people and to ensure they have the support they need as they transition to independence.”

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