Keeping Up With Carly – An Introduction
My name is Carly Telford. I’m eighteen years old and I’m the Ambassador for the Corporate Parenting team at Who Cares? Scotland. I’ve been working with the team for just over a month now and so far it’s been exciting and completely action packed!
In our team, we train corporate parents, like the Scottish Government, colleges and universities, the police and the NHS so that they understand what it’s like to be a young person growing up in the care system, and educate them on the responsibilities they have to look after young people and children in care the way any parent should. Before I applied for the job of Corporate Parenting Ambassador, I didn’t know what a corporate parent was! Now, I think that the corporate parenting team is a good fit for me as I went into care when I was three and a half, and from my experience, I know that the care system could and should be better, and that good corporate parenting has the power to shape lives in loads of positive ways.
My end goal is to challenge the stigma surrounding those who aren’t properly represented in society. It is my responsibility as Ambassador to be the face of all care experienced young people when holding corporate parents to account. It’s easy for professionals to disregard those in care when they aren’t confronted with young people like me sharing their experience of growing up in the system.
Before I became Ambassador, my social worker suggested I find a volunteering opportunity as I had left school, had no plans for college or university and was working in McDonalds full time. Who Cares? Scotland was the charity that came to mind because it represented something I really cared about and believed in. I was a volunteer with Who Cares? Scotland for six months before my volunteer coordinator suggested I applied for the role. Then, Kevin (my manager) came through the drive-thru at the McDonalds where I worked and told me I got the job. I was so happy I had to take a time out!
Even before I was volunteering, I wanted to make sure that other young people in care weren’t missing out on opportunities which could really improve their experience of care. Who Cares? Scotland share my values and vision when it comes to shaking up the system and I also admired the support network they provide through different groups in the community. Groups like ‘Care 2 Create’ allow people to get creative, and to feel wanted and loved in a professional environment. Groups like this were also a great way for me to meet other care experienced young people, and though I attended the sessions as a volunteer, I found them really therapeutic.
For my time as Ambassador, I hope to help the corporate parenting team inspire lasting change and work hard to develop resources both for young people and for corporate parents. My end goal is to challenge the stigma surrounding those who aren’t properly represented in society. It is my responsibility as Ambassador to be the face of all care experienced young people when holding corporate parents to account. It’s easy for professionals to disregard those in care when they aren’t confronted with young people like me sharing their experience of growing up in the system.