Lemn Sissay – a major source of inspiration for this project – was a child in care himself: aged just 12, he was returned to the care of the local authority by those who had fostered him since being placed with them as a baby. All Lemn wanted was a hug, some loving care. He left the system when he was 18 years old, later searching for, and finding his birth family. His mother had never agreed to a long term placement.
In 2013, Lemn initiated Christmas Day Dinners for Care Leavers. In 2017 Lemn established the Gold From The Stone Foundation (GFTS), dedicated to offering support to individuals and agencies working to address the disadvantages faced by those in care and young adult care leavers. He became the first official Olympic Poet at the London 2012 Games and is currently Chancellor of the University of Manchester. He is also Canterbury’s Poet Laureate.
Knowing the comfort a quilt can bring, hearing him tell his story, inspired Maggie Lloyd-Jones to begin to make quilts to be offered of the GFTS Christmas diners: a ‘quilty hug’ and lasting memento of the day.
Our target age group is 16-25 year olds because local authorities are duty bound to offer support to those leaving care between these ages in certain circumstances, and in any event until the young person becomes 21. Once a young person in care reaches 16, they are no longer considered to be in need of “care”.