Members spotlight: Drive Forward

Date Posted: 04 September 2018

In this week's members spotlight, we spoke to Megan Davies, Head of Youth Engagement, at the Drive Forward Foundation


Tell us a little about you…

Drive Forward Foundation is a charity which supports young adults, aged 16-26, who have left the care system, to find and sustain employment.

At Drive Forward Foundation, we offer a holistic service, grounded in a relational approach, which provides individuals with the confidence, skills, tools and professional networks so that they can achieve the self-worth attached to finding meaningful employment.  

How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?

There are some shocking statistics about care leavers and poverty. At Drive Forward, we help our young people overcome those statistics and stereotypes with dedicated 1-2-1 support and a range of workshops. With help from psychologists, we have found that this relational approach gives our young people the best chance of building their own life away from poverty.

What concerns you currently about child poverty in London?

It comes as no surprise that the unique obstacles faced by care leavers often lead to poverty. 25% of people homeless on the streets are care experienced and over a third of care leavers are not in education, employment or training. Care leavers are also over-represented in the criminal justice system with 40% of young offenders having had some care experience. We know that involvement in the criminal justice system is very often tied to poverty for young people.

In the wider population, the average young person will leave the family home at the age of 25. But when a young person leaves care, they are often living entirely independently at the age of 18 or even 16. Without proper 1-2-1 support, care leavers can often slip through the net.

Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service 

Our exhibition, This Is Me, opened this month at Rich Mix in Shoreditch and has already toured several locations across London, including the Saatchi gallery.

The exhibition explores ten care leavers’ sense of identity, through photographic portraits and recorded monologues. Having experienced such uncertainty and instability, various locations in London become the focus of these ten young people’s identities.

What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

We have a fantastic network of corporate partners who provide a range of opportunities for our care leavers. As well as ring-fenced internships and work placements, many of our partners put on ‘Aim Higher Days’ in which our young people can explore what it’s like to work in different industries. Most recently we took a cohort of young people to visit Denton’s Law Firm.

We have a great track record of maintaining and developing relationships with our corporate partners. Our partners often volunteer as mentors for our young people, while others get involved with the various courses we offer such as mindfulness and book club.

Why did you join 4in10: London's Child Poverty Network? 

We joined the 4in10: London's child poverty network because young people who experience poverty need us to come together and fight their corner.