Being independent

Services which can help you live independent, happy and safe lives as adults.

We want all our children in care to become care leavers who are able to live independent, happy and safe lives as adults.

To do this we provide a range of support to make sure you can access education, training and employment opportunities, as well as more practical things, such as cookery lessons, budget planning or driving lessons. Have a look at the wide range of options available to you.

We know where you live is very important to you and we want all our children in care and care leavers to feel safe and comfortable where they live. There are a number of options we can offer you about the types of arrangement you can live in.

When you are in care and under the age of 18 you can:

  • Live with foster carer(s)
  • Live in a children’s home and/or residential school (if this is what you need)
  • Live in a semi-independent home with keywork support (if you are over the age of 16 and able to manage this)

When you are a care leaver (over the age of 18 years) you can:

  • Live with foster carer(s) under a ‘Staying Put’ arrangement
  • Live in supported or semi-independent accommodation (with keywork support as needed)
  • Live in your own private rented home (this is likely to be a studio flat or 1 bedroom flat)
  • Apply for a home from your local council (it can take some time to be offered a property and you cannot necessarily choose the location you would most like)

Please see the Care Leavers Offer for all information about accommodation options and how you access these [This is currently being updated and will be uploaded once finalised].

As a care leaver you are exempt from paying Council Tax until you are 25 years old. You will also receive a grant of up to £3,000 when you are ready to move into your own home to help you buy essential items.

If you ever feel unsafe or unhappy with where you are living, please speak with your carer, keyworker, or social worker about this, so that action can be taken to support you and to address any issues you are facing.

If you want to report anti-social or nuisance behaviour that is not an immediate risk contact the Police on 101 or you make a report online Contact us | (

If it is an emergency, call the Police or other emergency services (ambulance or fire brigade) immediately on 999

If you have been the victim of a crime or want independent support around a possible crime or issues of safety please, contact Home - Victim Support. They offer a range of services, and they can listen and help you understand your rights and any action you could take.

You can also get in touch with your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme. This is a group of local people who work together to create safer communities by preventing crime and making positive change. Home | Neighbourhood Watch | National network | Local Watch areas | Community crime prevention groups (

There will be a whole range of local services which you can access in the area that you live.

Visit the ‘Libraries’ section to see how to access your local library.

See the ‘Being healthy and staying well’ section for details of how to access local health and wellbeing services, such as your GP, dentist, optician, etc.

See ‘Taking part and having fun’ for local events and activities you can take part in.

Citizens Advice
'We can all face problems that seem complicated or intimidating. At Citizens Advice we believe no one should have to face these problems without good quality, independent advice.

That’s why we’re here: to give people the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward - whoever they are, and whatever their problem.'

For more information, please visit the website: Citizens Advice

Until the end of February 2024
Until the end of February your social worker should provide you with a monthly bus pass. The social worker can arrange this via your keyworker, or in some cases can buy it for you and give it to you. Ask your social worker.

From the end of February 2024 
Transport for London (TFL) offers a new scheme which will work from the end of February 2024. This makes the cost of bus travel half price.

Your social worker is asking your permission to share your name, date of birth and address to share with Transport For London. You will need to agree if you would like free bus travel in London.

Once the new TFL scheme is open, your social worker will ask you to come to the Guildhall and will help you make a TFL account, apply for an annual bus pass, and pay the rest of the money so you will get an annual bus pass free.

We will prepare you in January 2025 for renewing that bus pass and ensuring the City covers the cost.

Who are we?
Prospects, part of Shaw Trust works with the City of London Corporation to ensure that all young people who live, work, study or volunteer here have a voice in matters that affect them and that are important to them.

We work in collaboration with young people to deliver fun and practical programmes around social action, empowerment and youth issues.

We have been working in the City for more than 10 years, collaborating with young people across the City; empowering them to create change, and enabling them to realise their potential.

Who can get involved?
If you meet the following criteria, reach out today to get involved and make a difference:

  • You live, work, study or volunteer in the City of London
  • You are aged 11-19 (and up to 25 with learning difficulties or disabilities or a care leaver)
  • You care about the future for young people in the City of London

Do you meet all 3 statements above? If yes, we would love to hear from you.

What can you get involved with?
Whether you want to improve the environment, reduce bullying, get involved with projects, make new friends or you see yourself as a future Prime Minister, there is a place for you in our Youth City Forum.

We want to utilise your skills and help you gain more!

The City Youth Forum is a group of young people who work together to make the City of London a better place to live, work and study for young people. The group is chaired by our Member of Youth Parliament and deputy, and our members set the focus and agenda.

We know that life can be busy. That is why how much time you have to offer is your choice. We have 3 levels of membership.

Youth Voice Consultant: (Time commitment: Around 30 minutes every 3 months)
We will call on you to ask you for your views and opinions on things that impact you and other young people. Answer our polls with as much or little information as you want. This option is best for those who don’t have time to attend meetings, but still want to have their voice heard.

Member of the City Youth Forum: (Time commitment: Around 4 hours per month)
Join our City Youth Forum as a standing member, attending monthly forum meetings and getting involved in change and social action to make a difference for yourself and all young people who live, work or study in the Square Mile. We sometimes meet in person or online.

Youth Leader: (Time commitment: Up to 6 hours per month)
Once you have been a member of the forum for a little while, you will have the opportunity to take on a leadership position. This will allow you to drive change about issues that are important to you and your friends and gain leadership skills and experience. If you are ambitious and passionate about improving the lives of your friends and other young people in the City, you could be our next Member of Youth Parliament.

What are the benefits of volunteering with City Youth Forum?
There are unlimited benefits of getting involved, as you drive the work that the forum delivers.

Benefits include:

  • Have your voice heard by decision makers
  • Great experience to add to your CV and application forms
  • Earn Time Credits (which can be redeemed for cinema tickets, subscriptions and meals out)
  • Gain demonstrable skills such as: negotiation, project management, leadership, campaigning, administration, marketing.

Why wait? Get involved now to start making a difference to the lives of young people in the City of London.

How to contact us

To find out how we can help you, contact us on the details below:

Matilda Newman-Smart

Helping young people to progress and achieve their potential.

Who we are?
Prospects, part of Shaw Trust works with the City of London Corporation to ensure that all young people who live here, have access to high quality Careers Information, Advice and Guidance.

We have been working in the City for more than 10 years, supporting young people to plan their career journey and achieve their potential.

Who we support
If you are a City of London resident aged 13-19 (and up to 25 if you are a care leaver, or if you have learning difficulties or disabilities) we can support you.

What we support with
Whether you want to be an artist, a florist, an entrepreneur or a surgeon, we can help you on your journey. We can also help you understand your options if you are still unsure.

We help by providing Information, Advice and Guidance on Education, Employment and Training. We can also help you understand the steps required to get your dream job, plan your longer-term goals and support you with your next steps.

Our support is tailored to you! It could include;

  • Finding apprenticeships and helping you apply
  • Finding the best college or university programme for you and helping you apply
  • Helping you create a strong CV and supporting statement
  • Giving tips and support to prepare for interviews
  • Finding additional support to help with any learning difficulties or disabilities
  • Talking through any worries or concerns you may have
  • And much more…

How to contact us
To find out how we can help you, contact us on the details below.

Matilda Newman-Smart

The Virtual School occasionally has additional grant funding for driving tuition.

If young people let the Virtual School know when they have passed their driving theory test, they will be placed on a waiting list and contacted if and when funding becomes available for driving lessons.

Priority is given to young people who are studying car mechanics or need to learn to drive to improve their employment opportunities.

For more information about the Virtual School, please see the 'Educational opportunities' section.