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National Care Leavers Week – National Lecture


HEART is honoured to have been provided the opportunity to host this years National Lecture during National Care Leavers Week (23-31 October 2014).  One of our core collaborative activities with partners has been to develop more substantial support for young people in care and care leavers in aspiring to and progressing into higher education.



Our partners have for many years provided support but through HEART we have enhanced activity, initially by bringing together the five West Yorkshire local authority looked after/care leaver teams and independent fostering agencies with our partners which has in turn supported connections with foster carer support groups leading to coffee mornings and more recently a series of foster family learning days enabling families to learn together about art, nutrition, television production and engineering. Our own learning and development has been supported by the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers which comprises representation from colleges and universities across England and for which the HEART Manager is currently strategic group representative for the Yorkshire and Humber region.

We are delighted that our work has been recognised sufficiently to allow us to take on the responsibility of delivering the National Lecture which originated from the Care Leavers Foundation. The lecture will be hosted by our partner, Leeds Beckett University (to be renamed Leeds Beckett University from 22 September 2014), on Tuesday 28 October from 17.30 to 20.00. Please check out the programme and booking details.

It is fantastic that we are able to support recognition of the great work being undertaken by Leeds City Council in their Child Friendly Leeds initiative which aims to make Leeds the best city in Britain for children to grow up in and Tariq Saleem will provide a brief synopsis of this before our key note speaker, Belinda Bluff, takes the platform.

Belinda is care experienced and has worked her way through levels of education reaching her current point completing a Phd at the University of Huddersfield as the first Lemn Sissay Scholar.  Belinda’s research surrounds care leavers’ experience of transition through the education system and the lecture will present findings from this research which will be helpful for professionals  and carers working with looked after young people and care leavers alike.

It is even more fantastic that Lemn Sissay MBE, poet, author and playwright will be joining us and providing an input of his own work in relation to supporting care leavers and also providing readings from his work.


Lemn is the author of several books of poetry alongside articles, records, public art, and plays. He was an official poet for the London Olympics. His Landmark Poems are installed throughout Manchester and London, in venues such as The Royal Festival Hall and The Olympic Park. Lemn is associate artist at Southbank Centre, patron of The Letterbox Club and The Reader Organisation, and inaugural trustee of World Book Night.




Tariq, Belinda and Lemn will be open to questions which will be chaired by Professor Margaret A House, Vice Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University and Chair of the HEART Board.  We expect a lively session and would love to see you so encourage you to book now!