A NEW service has been launched in West Dunbartonshire to assist young care leavers with independent living.

The CLASS (Care Leavers Advisory Support Services) Transitions team will provide advice and guidance to identify suitable services available for young people aged 16-29 who have spent time in care and are in full-time education, employment or training.

The team are available to provide advice and signposting on a range of common issues, including debt management, mental health and wellbeing and benefit entitlements.

CLASS Transitions also offers classes in fitness and healthy cooking and meal planning on a budget, which are delivered either one-on-one or in a group, at a location which suits the service user.

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The service is run by specialist care provider Kibble.

Sandra Guiney, transition advisor with CLASS Transitions, said: “We think of ourselves as a kind of ‘professional parenting’ team, helping vulnerable young people with help and advice that others would receive from their families.

“Living independently for the first time is nerve-wracking for any young person, but it can be particularly challenging for those who don’t have a strong network around them.

“We tend to find that care leavers are more comfortable asking for help and guidance from people who are familiar with the care system, but once they are in full-time work or education it’s harder to find this kind of help.

“We encourage any young care leaver in full-time education, employment or training to give us a call or send us an email, to talk about anything weighing on their mind. These issues don’t have to be faced alone, we are here to help.”

To speak to the CLASS Transitions team, call 0141 891 4448, email transitions@kibble.org, or visit kibble.org/our-services/class-transitions/.