Care leavers in Greater Manchester will be able to use a new app to help them find and access support, offers and opportunities that are available to them, all in one place.
The ‘Bee Connected’ app has been developed by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and digital agency Focusgov following feedback from care leavers that support available to them wasn’t always easy to find.
The app was officially launched yesterday by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham at an event marking Care Leavers Week. Attendees also heard virtually from Leader of Stockport Council and GMCA Lead for Young People, Councillor Mark Hunter about the benefits of the app.
The app builds on the work of the Greater Manchester Care Leavers Guarantee that was launched in 2019 which has five key priority areas of focus to enable those leaving care to:
- Be better prepared and supported to live independently
- Have improved access to education, employment and training
- Experience stability in their lives and feel safe and secure
- Receive improved access to health support
- Achieve financial stability
There are over 4,000 care leavers up to the age of 25 in Greater Manchester and more young people leave care each week. The app will support care leavers and let them know what they are entitled to and what support and opportunities are on offer to them.
These offers, such as free bus passes, free prescriptions, support to access higher education, employment and training and a free digital device and connectivity provide opportunities and remove barriers for care leavers to thrive and succeed in life.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said:
“I’m so pleased that we’re launching the Bee Connected app, which is all about giving care leavers the information and the confidence to help them live independent lives. Having all the support and guidance set out in once place will make it as easy as possible for them to understand their options and make their own choices.”
“The app is just one of the tools we have introduced to help young people in Greater Manchester get on and succeed. That includes free bus travel and access to amazing experiences with Our Pass, and support with careers and work opportunities through our GMACS service. Supporting our young people is absolutely essential if we want to make Greater Manchester a fairer and more prosperous city-region for all its residents.”
The event, held at Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Digital Arts, launched the ‘Bee Connected’ app and saw performances from care leavers and a number of stalls from employers and organisations offering support and opportunities to care leavers.
GMCA Lead for Young People Councillor Mark Hunter said:
“The Bee Connected app has been developed because of feedback we’ve had from care leavers. The look and feel of the app have been co-produced with care leavers and they are very much the driving force behind this.
“For the first time the app brings together a lot of information that we hope will be useful to care leavers about their entitlements and offers available to them and how to access them.”
The app builds on work GMCA has done to support care leavers access digital solutions, including a comprehensive package of support such as access to free data connectivity for 12 months, devices and free digital skills aiming to build skills and confidence online.
Following a successful pilot in Salford the Get Online Greater Manchester: for care leavers initiative has now been rolled out across other areas of Greater Manchester. Care leavers can access the scheme via a simple application process to be completed with support from a care leavers professional contact.
The new care leavers app can be downloaded by searching ‘BeeConnected’ in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
Article Published: 28/10/2022 15:05 PM