A Luton teenager is appearing on Anglia News tonight (August 8) to encourage young people in care to accept help when it’s offered.
Charlotte la Riviere, 19, knows just how important it is because she speaks from experience: she and her twin sister Laura have been fostered since they were 11.
Charlotte recalled: “It took a few years for my sister and I to trust our foster carers.
“I remember at first I was very frightened, very shy and very insecure.
“Within the first year I was offered art therapy counselling, but I didn’t really enjoy it so chose not to carry on.
“Looking back, I wish I’d taken full advantage of the help that was offered because I think it would have been very beneficial.”
Laura also wishes she’d accepted help earlier.
She explained: “I suffered depression when I was 15. When I was about to turn 16, I realised I couldn’t ignore the problem any more and I was offered counselling. I wish now I’d taken advantage of that because I think my depression wouldn’t have got so bad.”
The sisters know others in care who share their regrets.
Charlotte’s television debut was facilitated by a unique charity called Fixers, which provides a platform for young people to take action and change things for the better, addressing any issue they feel strongly about.
It helps them voice their concerns through a variety of projects such as film, website or print.
Barnardo’s head of fostering and adoption, Brenda Farrell, said Charlotte’s input was vital because decision-making is difficult for vulnerable youngsters in care.
She added: “Charlotte’s experience will inform and design the services for young people in the future.”
Fixers has recently received a Big Lottery Fund grant which will enable it to expand its services.
Chief executive Margo Horsley said the charity was started in 2008: “It was just an idea . . . an idea given voice by more than 8,700 young people over the past five years.
“They’ve reached thousands of people on a national stage as well as in and around where they live.
“They choose the full array of social and health issues facing society today and set about making their mark.
“Fixers are always courageous and their ideas can be challenging and life-changing – not just for themselves.”
> For more information visit www.fixers.org.uk