Liverpool’s new Lord Mayor pledges to support care leavers

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Cllr Richard Kemp has been sworn in this week as the new Lord Mayor of Liverpool at a ceremony at the Town Hall (Wednesday 15th May) and will dedicate his year in office to helping to support care leavers from across the city.

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE came to Liverpool in 1974 but he was no stranger to the city. His mother was born in Walton and his uncle owned a shop on Scotland Road. After marching off to war in 1943 his mother left the city after meeting Richard’s father on a RAF site in Lancashire.

Arriving at Liverpool fifty years ago, Cllr Kemp soon decided to dedicate his life to help serve its communities. He has been a Councillor for forty years in many different wards and is now Cllr for the Penny Lane Ward. Richard has filled a variety of roles including chairing committees, being a Cabinet Member and also leader of the Liberal Democrats Group.

Richard was awarded a CBE in 2011 for public service to local government, regeneration and housing.

Richard’s year in office will be influenced by the work of forty Lord Mayors that have been before him, including his wife Alderman Erica Kemp CBE who was Lord Mayor for Liverpool in 2014 – 2015.

Erica was a Councillor for twenty-three years and was awarded a CBE in 2014 for political and public service.

Richard and Erica have three children and five grandchildren who play a major part in their lives. Their younger daughter Rachel served as Lady Mayoress for her mother.

It’s Richard’s strong sense of family connection that has driven him to focus his work on raising awareness of care leavers in the city. This includes giving them a voice to highlight their challenges and tell their success stories.

Richard has also established a Care Leavers’ fund after securing investment of a hundred thousand pounds a year for three years. The money, which will be distributed by Liverpool City Council, will be in addition to other support that the City Council has in place and will go towards provisions such as books for college or university, new clothing for interviews, or household items etc.

Lord Mayor Richard Kemp said:

“I am delighted to be able to announce, as my first act since becoming Lord Mayor, a hundred thousand pounds a-year-fund for three years to support care leavers, or those about to leave care.

“We are grateful to have received fifty thousand pounds a year for three years from CCLA, a London based company which provides investment support for churches, charities and local authorities.  The Lancashire and Merseyside Community Foundation also has also very kindly given another fifty thousand pounds for three years.

“Working in partnership with the Community Foundation, the City Council will use this money to provide small grants to support care leavers in addition to provisions which are already being provided by the Council.

“The money will be used to provide good experiences for people may have faced challenges in their lives. No restrictions have been applied to what the money can be used for and will be allocated on a case-by-case basis.

“Other partners such as the Liverpool Philharmonic, the Museums and Galleries of Merseyside and the Merseyside Fire Service have also pledged their support. In September I will host an event at the Town Hall which will be co-produced with care leavers to ensure that those with power and money can respond to their needs”.

Cllr Liz Parsons, Cabinet Member for Children’s and Young People’s Services:

“It’s fantastic news that the Lord Mayor has chosen to help support care leavers across the city throughout his year in office. We’re really excited to work together to highlight their experiences and celebrate their successes.

“We are committed to making sure they have access to  opportunities including financial and practical assistance, but also the emotional support and encouragement necessary to navigate their way through life with resilience and determination.

“We know young people who have experienced the care system often face the transition to adulthood without the support networks that many of us take for granted. Therefore, any additional support is gratefully received.”

A spokesperson from the Community Foundation for Merseyside said:

“The Community Foundation for Merseyside is proud to be managing the Liverpool Care Leavers’ fund. Making the transition to adult life can be especially difficult for young people leaving care, who may not have had the stability of a settled family life, or the support of their own family. The bursary fund aims to offer flexible financial support based on individual aspirations and ambitions as they start their future lives, including additional help with settled, safe accommodation; entering further or higher education; find satisfying employment or achieving good health and a positive sense of wellbeing”.

Liverpool Waterfront