Student shares care experience on STV documentary

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A student from New College Lanarkshire is sharing her experience of being in care in a new TV documentary.

Shaddelle Brown, 18, talks about her experience of being fostered on STV’s Who Cares documentary, to be broadcast tonight (Sep 20) at 8pm.

The Make-up Artistry student, who lives in Stonehouse, is a peer mentor and care councillor with the Who Cares? Scotland charity.

She is offering to speak to any students who have experience of care and are looking for advice and support.

New College Lanarkshire launched its Corporate Parenting Plan in February 2016. The three-year plan aims to support more care-experienced young people into and through post-school education.

Shaddelle and her two younger brothers were taken into care 10 years ago as a result of abuse and neglect. They have been with the same foster family ever since.

Now in her third year of studying at our Motherwell Campus, Shaddelle chose to share her story to change how society views young people in care and help give a voice to the 15,000-plus looked-after children in Scotland.

STV’s documentary features five young people talking about their different journeys through the care system to raise awareness of the challenges faced.

The former pupil of Holy Cross High in Hamilton said: “One of the reasons that I tell my story is that I know mine has been really successful.

“I’m really lucky that I’ve managed to be kept with my brothers and that my placement has been stable.

“For me, every child in care should have that experience. It shouldn’t be left to chance.

“I hope that in more people hearing my story, they will realise that mine is what a care experience should be.

“I really want to make a difference to other young people. A lot of young people look up to me and they’re inspired by me, which means a lot.

“They encourage me to tell my story and keep them motivated.

“If anyone is struggling in class, and they need someone to talk to, then I know how they feel. If I can help any other students, then I’m happy to.”

She also recently took part in a Who Cares? Scotland poster campaign to challenge the stigma of being in care.

Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive of Who Cares? Scotland, said: “We are very lucky to have Shaddelle as one of our Care Councillors.

“Her passion and determination have already shown her to be an incredible leader.

“She's a credit to Who Cares? Scotland, New College Lanarkshire and her foster mum, Hazel.

“I hope everyone in Lanarkshire will see the documentary and recognise that she is a credit to them, too.”

The documentary Who Cares is part of a series of programmes to highlight the work carried out by projects supported by the STV Children’s Appeal. It culminates in an annual live show hosted by Lorraine Kelly on Friday (Sep 23).

Donald John MacDonald, Producer of Who Cares, said: “The outcomes for looked-after children in areas such as offending, mental health, education, homelessness and unemployment are truly appalling.

“Shaddelle’s story is one of triumph over adversity but it has been a difficult journey.

“Thanks to the love and support of her foster family, she is now in a positive place in her life and is determined to use her experience to improve the lot of others like her.”

Martin McGuire, Principal and Chief Executive of New College Lanarkshire, said: “It is incredibly brave of Shaddelle to share her experience of foster care with such a wide audience.

“Her efforts in mentoring other young people from care backgrounds is highly commendable and she is a great role model for other students.

“As a Corporate Parent, we are committed to supporting care-experienced young people to improve their educational attainment and realise their full potential.”

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