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John Lewis ad is just the beginning for care-experienced youth.

November 11 2022 - 4 min read

This year's John Lewis Christmas Advert launches a range of initiatives for children in care.

There is no doubt that this year’s Christmas offering from John Lewis is a little different.  The glitz and glamour of Christmas has been stripped back to tell a more important story – just how many children in the UK are living in care.

The advert has only been out for a day, and the response has been overwhelming positive, but there have been a few negative comments starting to bubble over social media as the advert gets more exposure.  Comments like ‘A child is not just for Christmas’ are inevitable, but here at Fostering People – we are delighted by the campaign, and not just because it highlights what is most important to us - foster children, but because this year’s Christmas Campaign is just the start of how the company wants to make a real difference to young people in the UK that are care experienced.

So what are John Lewis doing to help care experienced young people?

Their ambition is huge and already well underway.  Partnering with Action for Children and Who Cares Trust in Scotland, the organisation is donating and raising funds directly to help children in care, from additional support to foster families to help avoid placement breakdowns to organising fun activities to help children in care get together and share their experiences.

Sales from the John Lewis Christmas Bear will contribute to the fund, but additionally Giving Trees will be available in store to donate directly or people can give online at this web page.  But their commitment goes much further. Not published by John Lewis themselves, we have seen comments about how John Lewis are decorating some children’s homes this Christmas, to make their Christmas’s truly magical.

Building happier futures.

John Lewis have introduced dedicated policies for their partners who are foster carers or kinship carers to ensure they have support in the work place, what more they are wanting to work with other organisations to share best practice.  This is great news to us, as at Fostering People we know only too well the demands of fostering on our foster parents and how difficult it can be to work in an organisation that isn’t flexible to the needs of foster children.

Most importantly of all, John Lewis has the ambition to become the go to employer for care experienced young people.  Setting up dedicated apprentice schemes in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Essex and Nottingham with more to come over the next 2 years.  John Lewis will also help its care leavers not only become partners within its organisation but help fund further education courses too.   To deliver this, John Lewis are partnering with organisations like the Rees Foundation, who we have worked with ourselves so know first hand the great work they do.

Applicants can apply for apprenticeships here:

So why has John Lewis done all of this?

John Lewis has always believed in the ethos of levelling up, hence why its employees are partners and shareholders, not just staff.

The statistic they have published show the gap between those who are care experienced and those that aren’t and their ambition is to close the gap.

  • Less than a quarter (22%) of young people who are care-experienced are in education, training or employment, compared to nearly two thirds (57%) of their peers. Employers are missing out on the potential of thousands of young people who leave the care system every year.
  • 6% of young people who’ve been in care go on to further education
  • £6,000 Care Experience Pay Gap: Someone who is care experienced earns on average less than their peers who haven’t grown up in care
  • 1/3 of people who’ve been in care will experience homelessness at some point in their lives.

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