The genesis of the Isabel’s Voice charity can be traced back to the working life of Isabel Eileen Gill. Originally a Careers Officer working both in the UK and in the far east Isabel eventually became a senior lecturer at the University of Greenwich where she worked to try to increase the number of underprivileged young people attending and successfully completing higher education. This brought her into contact with many young people who were or had been in the care of the local authority, children whose families either could not or would not look after them in the traditional family setting.
On all social levels these young people are significantly worse off than their contemporaries. Lower achievement levels in education and across a range of other social markers, often as a result of their chaotic and emotionally damaging early years, a very high proportion of these ‘Children in Care’ are in fact not properly looked after at all by the Local Authorities whose responsibility they are. Poor organisation, underfunding and a failure to consistently and properly address real emotional and psychological need often leads to disrupted and unstable young adulthood and, in a significant number of cases averaging well above that for the population as a whole, a drift into crime and other socially dysfunctional behaviour.
Working with local authorities and a range of charities Isabel sought to begin to redress the imbalance in attainment and in mental health that the cohort of CiC endure. Before her untimely death in 2012 Isabel had begun to develop ideas and practices that, working in collaboration with others, had begun to tackle some of these issues.
Isabel’s voice is a fitting tribute to her passion and desire to improve the lives and expectations of these forgotten children.
The starting place for our journey is to ensure that each local authorities delivers what they are legally bound to do, aligned to acts of law, such as the Children Act.
Our call to action is make the services for Children in Care and Care Leavers transparent, and campaign to improve those services if need be.
R.Gill, Trustee 2019