Update, February 2022: In 2021 Sedil Kilic began working with Blue Cabin as a mentee, learning more about the organisation and the role of a Trustee. Now, we’re delighted to say that Sedil is joining Blue Cabin as a fully-fledged Trustee. Here’s her interview from back in October 2021, when she told us about how she hopes to use her experience as a care leaver to help improve outcomes for other care-experienced young people.
Tell me a bit about you and why you wanted to work with Blue Cabin
While volunteering with various charities, I came across groups who sat at the top of these organisations and made all the core decisions. They were known as trustees. I do have to admit, though it seemed the place to be if I wanted to see how charities were run, the decision to apply to become a trustee did not come to me naturally as I’d never seen it as something that was accessible to me. As a young person studying for an Engineering degree without the slightest clue in this sector, I doubted my ability to contribute to the role due to lack of experience. However, I believe the most crucial part of a trustee is to be passionate and motivated about a cause. Life experiences can be as important as professional expertise to establish a diverse board that reflects the community the charity represents and provides for. This came when Blue Cabin had a public call-out for trustees. I was drawn to Blue Cabin because of how aligned their vision and values were with my own and their commitment to making sure that all young people with experience in the care system have the same equal opportunities as anybody else. As someone coming from a care-experienced background, it was a fantastic opportunity to be part of an organisation seeking to overcome these challenges and help the livelihood of young people with a similar upbringing to mine. One of the things I loved about Blue Cabin was that creativity was at the heart of these processes. I believed I could fulfill my ambitions and goals and bring a unique insight and valuable perspective to the board by taking on such a role, and I’m now working with the Blue Cabin team to receive training and mentoring, with the aim of becoming a fully-fledged trustee later this year.
What does the role of a trustee with Blue Cabin involve?
As a trustee, you need to be 100% committed to your role and educate yourself about the responsibilities you hold. The board will typically meet 4-6 times a year to discuss the important issues we face at Blue Cabin in ensuring the work is effective, responsible and legal. This involves challenging the perception and thinking of the board by asking questions that will get the group to consider new and innovative ideas. Although the role requires a huge commitment, the rewards are fantastic when you see the impact your contribution has in achieving the vision Blue Cabin holds.
What do you want to achieve while you’re in the role?
By taking on this role I want to be able to use my voice to share my experiences and motivate other young people from a care-experienced background and demonstrate that there are ways to overcome the barrier to leadership that so many often face. This also involves working with Blue Cabin to not only make sure they become more diverse but also more inclusive and equitable in their board processes. Through this role, I also hope to gain a clearer understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses whilst simultaneously achieving new skills. The opportunity to be a young trustee is an amazing way to grow my network and create relationships with amazing people from an array of organisations and backgrounds. It’s a very exciting chance to learn about charity governance and how the sector works.
How can we make sure care leavers’ voices help influence policy and practice in relation to care-experienced children and young people?
A change needs to happen in a wider society around diversity and inclusion, leading to a real appreciation of what care leavers have to offer. More diversity around tables is needed where care leavers can take on these leadership roles and share their experiences. Many people I’ve met are keen on having these misconceptions challenged and are aware that many care leavers are eager to learn and contribute their different thoughts, solutions, and perspectives. Care leavers need the opportunity to lead on major societal issues, and to discount them on lack of training is a big mistake. The development of more panels, events, and webinars are great ways in which care leavers can voice their opinion.
How do you think creativity can help improve outcomes for care-experienced children and young people?
Studies show that young people with experience in the care system are at greater risk of poor mental health, social exclusion, homelessness, unemployment, and crime involvement. Creativity offers a medium for these young people to express and explore their feelings and provides opportunities for change. Young people who’ve had experience in the care system can learn new skills while sharing their experience in ways they were incapable of doing before. By cultivating these creative energies, we ensure these young people can transform their lives to meet their full potential while promoting equality. The creative projects run by Blue Cabin create a safe space for care experienced young people to use their voice and build their confidence where they can use these skills to pursue their dreams.
Blue Cabin has recently appointed three other new trustees and you can meet them here.