NORTH Yorkshire has been selected to join an innovative national project which will employ care leavers as consultants to improve services.

The county council has been chosen as one of eight authorities nationally to be part of a New Belongings project with the charity Coram Voice.

It will involve working closely with young adults who have recently left care - supported by council officials - and will identify priorities in developing relevant services.

The New Belongings project was initially set up between 2013 and 2016 with funding from the Department for Education and creates and tests different practices to improve services and outcomes for care leavers.

Now a new phase of the programme is being launched, which will involve working with local authorities to develop their leaving care services with direct involvement from their care leavers.

The project will build on ground-breaking work already carried out by North Yorkshire County Council, which last year was the first and only authority to be rated “outstanding” in every category for frontline children and young people’s services.

Cllr Janet Sanderson, executive member for children and young people’s services, said: “We are delighted to be working with Coram Voice in this project, which will ensure everyone leaving care in North Yorkshire has the right support at the right time as they journey towards independent adult life.

“It builds on the ground-breaking work we have already received national plaudits for, in improving support and wellbeing for young people both in care and leaving care.

"This project will also ensure their needs and perspectives at the very heart of decision-making.”

Linda Briheim-Crookall, of Coram Voice said: “We are very excited to have care-experienced young people working with us to make sure this work is co-produced with the young people whose lives leaving care services are there to improve.”