New Belongings Programme

The New Belongings Programme ran from 2019-2022 and worked with eight local authorities using the Your Life Beyond Care survey from our Bright Spots programme and the Baker Dixon self-assessment-framework to better understand what makes life good for their care leavers and how to improve the support they are offering.

Using this information the authorities worked with their young people to co-produce solutions to the issues they have identified.

Work together to make things better

The core message of the New Belongings programme is simple: to deliver the best support and services to care leavers you must work alongside young people.

The authorities developed lots of different ways to support care leavers – you can read about these in The Story of New Belongings report – here are just some examples:

The importance of local solutions

We want the examples of work produced by the local authorities to inspire you to go on your own co-production journey. Whilst there were many great ideas we do not want other local authorities to see these as off the peg solutions to just pick up and roll out in their local areas.

The important lesson from New Belongings is that the value comes from working with young people locally to develop solutions that they feel will make the most difference to them.

Not only does this identify the changes that are relevant to care leavers in their particular area, but the process itself has benefits for the young people participating.

Making change happen through co-production

We identified 5 cornerstones to make the New Belongings approach successful:

  1. Co-production
  2. Senior leadership commitment
  3. Resources to engage and deliver
  4. Partnership working
  5. Peer learning
Because of the timing of this work the programme also became an opportunity to understand how the pandemic impacted on care leavers. Over 1,200 care leavers completed the Your Life Beyond Care survey at the beginning of the pandemic and again in Jan/Feb 2022. The baseline and final evaluation reports by Coram Impact and Evaluation highlights some of these findings.

Co-production process

We developed this triangle of young people’s involvement to reflect the work of the 8 authorities.

A triangle graphic showing the stages of involving young people in local authority service development

  1. Setting expectations by asking local authorities and senior leaders to set out their commitment to co-production and involving young people from the beginning.
  2. Young people’s priorities – Work with young people to identify what is important to them through an authority wide survey (Your Life Beyond Care) and by follow up work to identify their priorities for action.
  3. Working together to develop and deliver action plans with suggested changes.
  4. Continuously sharing progress with staff, young people and others.
  5. Staff and young people jointly reviewing progress and develop further plans.

Evaluating progress

The evaluation of the programme found that the local authorities involved experienced:

  • Increased funding for the leaving care service (new posts and targeted provision)
  • Improved relational practice and connectivity (relationships between leaving care workers and young people, as well as improving social activities for care leavers)
  • Additional opportunities and resources for care leavers (e.g. through the Local Offer, as well as education and workplace opportunities)
  • A greater focus on suitable and affordable accommodation (Ring Doorbell and Guarantor scheme)
  • Greater awareness of young people’s needs and views through their direct contribution (developing mechanism to listen to care leavers voices,- Task Force leaders, care leaver Champions)
  • Increased co-production with young people (identifying solutions to problems, such as the Care Leaver Standard)

Keep working at it

In our final meetings with local authorities:

  • 98% of participants agreed that the programme had helped their local authority listen to the views of a wider group of care leavers.
  • 9 out of 10 felt that their local authority had  new ways to involve young people in decision making and service development

The New Belongings model is a successful way of working alongside care leavers – it puts care leavers’ voices and experiences at the centre of service delivery and design. All services can use some or all of the New Belongings approach to support their journey towards co-production. Hopefully the Story of New Belongings can inspire some to go on that journey

Listening and acting on young people’s voices should be at the heart of children’s social care. We encourage all services that work with care experienced young people to embed participation and co-production in service development.

More information and learnings from New Belongings

  • Introduction to New Belongings

These slides are taken from an introductory event from the launch of New Belongings. They explain the purpose and intentions of the programme and what is hoped to be achieved. 

Download introductory slides presentation

  • New Belongings Baseline and Final Evaluation Reports

Carried out by Coram’s Impact and Evaluation team, this independent evaluation of the New Belongings Programme was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

The evaluation used a pre- and post- methodology, with data collected at baseline (in 2020) and again at the end of the programme (in 2022). Using a range of evaluation and programme tools, including the Baker and Dixon self-assessment for local authorities, the Your Life Beyond Care survey for care leavers, and interviews with local authorities, this final evaluation reports on the progress made by local authorities in implementing the model and its impact.

Read the Baseline Evaluation report

Read the Final Evaluation report

  • Young peoples views

As part of our final evaluations, we spoke to care experienced young people and got their views on New Belongings and how it has helped them. We put together this video from their feedback.

Case Studies


New Belongings Webinars

Coram Voice hosted three lunchtime webinars to share learnings from the New Belongings Programme.

Over three years, we worked with eight local authorities to develop their care leaver services with a focus on co-producing solutions with young people. This was a chance to hear from the local authorities that took part and to have a wider discussion around leaving care support.

There is also the opportunity to reflect on how to use findings from the Programme to influence change in your own work.

Webinar 1 (Wednesday 16th November)

Using care leavers’ voices and views to develop services

Using care leavers’ voices and views to develop services

Menti slides

Webinar 2 (Wednesday 23rd November 12.00pm – 1.30pm)

Key Messages from the New Belongings Programme

Hertfordshire video

Key Messages from the New Belongings Programme slides

Menti slides


Webinar 3 (Wednesday 30th November 12.00pm – 1.30pm)

Supporting Care Leavers Emotional Health and Wellbeing Needs

Wandsworth video

Supporting Care Leavers Emotional Health and Wellbeing Needs Slides

Menti slides

Get in touch

To find out about more about New Belongings or how you could use the principles to improve your services, contact: