The Rees Foundation is a registered Charity (1154019) founded by Jan Rees OBE in October 2013 to support care leavers and care experienced individuals and communities across the UK, for as long as there is a need.
The Rees Foundation’s philosophy is a strength-based model, co-creating and championing services, projects and interventions with and for care experienced people. To empower and inspire others to effect social change and improve policy and practice.
Our experience informs us a large proportion of young people leaving care often do not have the social and emotional confidence or the family and friendship networks that provide the support and resilience to face the challenges of earning a living and making their way in society to acquire and hold down employment, or the skills needed to manage their financial affairs and domestic arrangements.
Respect, Engage, Energise, Support (REES)
Our experience of engaging with care leavers from an early age informs us that having secure employment, safe and affordable accommodation and healthy friendships and relationships significantly increases care experienced individual’s life chances.
We know the importance After-Care support plays in supporting care leavers through the transition from leaving care to independence and this is what we do very well through our peer driven, self help, strength based care experienced peer networks.
We know active engagement and participation with our range of activities, care experienced peer networks, projects and other interventions enables the care experienced community to become social and financial assets within their communities as they increase their social value by building their social capital.
What distinguishes our model from other approaches is the perspective use of the care experienced peer community to facilitate social and psychological change in individuals.
A model of co-production by co-creating regional peer networks with professionals by experience (care experienced) and experienced by profession (multi-disciplinary workforce). A safe place where care leavers/care experienced people can meet to discuss employment, education and training opportunities, seek advice and information, access a care experienced Buddy and or Mentor, Tell their Story, get help and support to assess your record, develop safe social networks, organize events, conferences and fundraising.
We complement the Local Authority in the execution of their duty as the Corporate Parent under Section 2 – Local Offer to Care Leavers by engaging with leaving care teams; personal advisors, social workers, Care Leaver Forum/ Council together with other voluntary and community agencies, youth services, foster carers and other stakeholders involved with care leavers to gain intelligence about what is already on offer. This is to avoid duplication or competition and to help us reach out to as many care experienced people as we can.
However, we recognise not all care experienced people will be involved with organisations. We will recruit local care experienced people from a range of backgrounds and experience to help reach out to individuals living in isolation.
We meet in safe and assessable venues such as local cafes and community centres.
Our aspiration is to recruit 10-15 care experienced volunteers each year, increasing and self-populating as the years go on.
We know from experience that “good parenting” never stops and this is why we aim to develop a Rees Care Experienced Council. To empower the Voice of care leavers/care experienced people and to keep improving our service priorities.