Listening to young people

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The stories of young people in care and from care are not heard as often as they should be.

At Coram, however, we believe that the children and young people we work with are experts on their own experience. What they tell us is at the heart of everything we do.

At Coram, we listen to children and young people’s stories.

Twisted – voices from care then and now

The Heritage Lottery Fund supported Twisted project was about bringing together young people with experience of care and older people who were in the care of the Foundling Hospital before it stopped taking boarders in the mid-195os.

It allowed them to compare and contrast stories, giving an insight into the challenges that they faced then and now.

The young people were encouraged to create an improvised play based upon the life and struggles of a young adult in care. This was inspired by the fictional foundling, Oliver Twist, who was invented by Charles Dickens following visits to the Foundling Hospital.

I was able to relate myself and also contrast how it was different now to how it was then.

Shavoy, young person involved in Twisted

Former foundling pupils tell their stories

The Foundling Voices project enabled people who grew up in the care of the Foundling Hospital in the first half of the 20th century to tell their stories.

In it, more than 70 former Foundling pupils, plus one teacher, their children and partners and townspeople from Berkhamsted who could remember the school, reflect on their experiences of the Foundling Hospital.

The interviews follow a life-story format, covering people’s early lives with foster families in the countryside, living in the Foundling Hospital from the age of 5 to 14 and leaving the Hospital and making their way in the world. 

They are stored at the London Metropolitan Archives, where they can be accessed by members of the public. 

You can also listen to excerpts from the oral history interviews and view the films on the Foundling Voices website.

…as we got into the school gates I said: ‘I will be able to come home tonight, won’t I?’ And as we got off the coach the boys were shepherded one way, the girls the other. And she said: ‘Be a good girl’ and she kissed me and she was gone.

Ruth, who went to the Foundling Hospital School in Berkhamsted in 1942