Our Parliamentary Adventure

Blog by Toni McClelland, NLCBF Digital Marketing and Events Officer

In February 2024, our YPBMF Legend Reece was invited to speak at an All Party Parliamentary Group, run by Become, about corporate parenting responsibilities.

They started their parliamentary adventure by first travelling to London, a long journey for some, but it gave Reece the time to collect his thoughts and let the excitement of such a wonderful opportunity bubble. Previously, at our YPBMF Event the Champions and Legends, including Reece, pulled together and collected the views of over 56 Care Experienced Individuals in regards to corporate parenting that were then shared at the All Party Parliamentary Group.

The event started at 6pm, so before getting to the event Reece first had to arrive in London. Once arriving in Kings Cross Station, Reece headed outside to meet Toni, the NLCBF digital marketing and events officer, who had come to support Reece at the event. With plenty of time to prep, they grabbed a brew and headed to the subway, to catch a tube to their accommodation. After navigating the colourful map and many escalators they hopped on the tube and arrived at Old Street where they wandered around taking photos of art and statues before checking into their hotel.

Art, Parliamentary Adventure Parliamentary Adventure

After checking into their hotel, they caught up with Hannah from the NLCBF team, who was also in London attending the launch of the London Compact (regional offer for care leavers in London) which was hosted by Victoria, the YPBMF Steering group representative. They caught up over a brew, again, and settled down to go over how the event would run, when Reece would be speaking, who else would be there and recap the views of the care experienced individuals he had spoken to and gathered views from. Reece was really excited and proud to be representing so many young people. His confidence shined and although his nerves where slowly creeping in, he knew exactly what he wanted to say.

Toni and Reece, preparing for the APPG Parliamentry meeting.

Become had arranged for everyone speaking at the event to meet at Westminster at 5pm. So Reece and Toni made their way back to the tube and arrived at Westminster. They snapped a few photos of Big Ben and headed to Portcullis house where the event was held. Once checked in, Reece and 14 other care experienced individuals made themselves comfortable and prepared to deliver what was an incredible and moving event.

The event was chaired by a Labour MP and attendees included the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons and Helen Hayes, Shadow Minister for Children and Families. Mark from Become opened the event by introducing each of the young people and the Report they had recently launched about the impact of corporate parenting responsibilities: Inquiry on extending corporate parenting responsibilities across the public sector. They gave a rundown of the report  that could improve the scaffolding of support for care experienced young people. The report set out clear guidance, support and expectations, with reference to the other orginisations they had worked with to create this executive summary.

After introductions and a quick briefing, Become then moved swiftly on to the young people. Each of the young people in attendance spoke about their own experiences with corporate parenting over a wider range of topic including Education, Language and more. Reece brought the views of 56 care experienced young people, and really drove the conversation around the need for clarity around where the responsibility for corporate parenting lies and the need for public bodies to be held accountable. He spoke with passion and vulnerability, reflecting the views of the young people he was representing and his own experiences.

Become's appg, executive summary on corporate parenting responsibilities

After each young person had spoken, the Chair came back to each one of them, individually, which really emphasized how important this event was and showed that he was taking all of this information in, with the hope of making a change. The Chair collected the young people’s notes and thanked everyone for their attendance, really thanking them for sharing their views as well as representing others.

As YPBMF, we are so proud of Reece for travelling so far, representing our views and driving home the importance of corporate parenting responsibilities and accountability of those who support care experienced individuals.

“The event was an amazing opportunity to take the views of young people from our YPBMF May event and what they said regarding corporate parenting to a group of MPs” – Reece Pears, YPBMF Legend

Speaking at such an important event, in front of so many politicians can be draining, so what better way to regain your energy than by getting some good food? Knowing that Hannah was in the area with Victoria, Reece and Toni arranged to meet them at the one and only Wagamama’s for some well-deserved and needed food. They all reflected on how Reece delivered an amazing speech with so much information, and how exciting an opportunity it was. We can all say with a huge heart, we are proud of their parliamentary adventure.