Medium and message: Shelter

Shelter has produced a music CD made by former service users to help people leaving care live independently

Shelter's good practice unit has produced a number of educational resources, but found there wasn't any information available for residential workers to help them prepare young people for leaving care.

Theresa MacDermott, head of the good practice unit at Shelter, says: "There's a lot of projects to help young people in care learn how to cook or manage a budget, but nothing to prepare them emotionally or give them the self-confidence to live alone."

Shelter worked with young former service users from hostels and care homes. It chose music to help them explore their own experiences of making the transition to independent living.

The Noise Project studio in Liverpool helped create the CD and involved the former service users in every stage of production, despite the fact that only one of them had a musical background.

"It was very therapeutic for them," says MacDermott. "Music works well because it really speaks to young people."

The CD, called A New Tomorrow, was launched at The End nightclub in London earlier this month. It forms part of a resource pack for residential workers, designed to help young people settle into their new lives.

"People who have grown up in care homes do not have normal upbringings that might prepare them for life on their own," says MacDermott. "The CD is something they can listen to on their own and, through it, hear their peer group speaking to them."

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