I'd like to share this poem with you from my new paperback release 'Welcome to Leatheton'.
I myself lived in a few different children's homes growing up and believe me the stigma is real. "Oh naughty kids?" or 'Problem children' is a somewhat 'outsider'type view of looking at things and not the true reality of why anyone is in care. Those that were I know had their reasons, and there was always someone from a seemingly normal home nearby doing far worse.
A shame to say the proof is in the pudding from various news articles that children in care are too often looked down on. Certain members within communities whip up a fear-frenzy and stir a 'not in my back yard' mentality.
It would be perhaps a bit sharp, but possibly true to mention at this point that such mentalities themselves are the direct cause of homelessness.
And not only that, but is also a denied abuse too often dished out by those that would otherwise think they are so perfect. Perhaps this is humble-pie for the somewhat sheltered, the ones that don't realise how lucky they are to have come from a remotely functioning family-unit.
Despite being looked down on, judged, and sneered at by those members of society that decided to start petitions when they hear of a children's home opening - children in care had to grow up in their own ways often much earlier and rapidly than many of those with suspicious eyes.
Sure it likely won't be perfect, but kids are kids.
Don't tell me you were so perfect.
Anyhow, my message is simply.
Children in care are human beings, not people to be falsely judged in despite what in the end could be forgiving - is still a subtle form of abuse, on par with racism, homophobia and general hatey hateyness.
Anyhow, here's my poem. A vision.
One of my twitter followers said every headteacher should read the poem, so here's my excuse to send it to as many as I can. If you know a headteacher or two, please email them this as I simply can't reach out to everyone. Big Love.
The children’s home
Up at the top of St Peters Road, a set of conifers will hide, the entrance of the children’s home, that has eight kids inside.
There’s Justin, Sarah, Alfie, Robert, Crystal, Diane, Jax. And Shane has gone to see his Mum, in three days he’ll come back.
One day there were three youngsters, inside of the home’s car. On their way to then go to, the next town’s cinema.
The two staff had just quickly gone, to search for their lost keys. “Has someone took them once again?
If you have then give them please!”
But no-one had taken the car keys, the staff were soon to see. But where they had parked up the car, the parking space was free.
They heard some voices shouting loud, the staff ran up the street. Robert, Diane and Jax jumped out, but Alfie’s in the driving seat.
The car is rolling down the road, he knows of his mistake -
after thinking it was funny, to let off the handbrake.
And push the car on to the road, and send it rolling down. But now he’s hit a parked up car, and feels like a right clown.
The owner then came rushing out, and then soon called the police.
“We’re bloody sick of this kids-home, and we all just want some peace.”
They had complained to the Leatheton Gazette, of their frustrating pain. But half of the stories weren’t the full truth, and the kid’s home often gets the blame.
They had started a petition, and wrote to their MP. The total people that had signed it were no more than twenty-three.
It was obvious the neighbours there, were kicking up a rage. “Children’s home gang trouble” was the headline of the front page.
They’d written in the article so much that wasn’t true. Such as burglaries and break-ins, and drug dealing from there too.
A social worker called Linda said “Look this just ain’t right. We’ve got to show people the truth, and put up a good fight.”
So then she hired the Rugby club, for a whole Saturday. Laid on some entertainment, and put on a big buffet.
Invited all the local neighbours, to meet the kids living at the home. It was the first time ever in this town, a glimpse of their lives was shown.
The neighbours had soon come to learn, the stories from in care. And the feelings of abandonment and the trauma in some there.
Abid Ali offered jobs, fixing phones once they’d turned sixteen.
Diane’s been offered to try out for the young women’s rugby team.
The day went on from ten up until six, a refreshing day in Leatheton for sure.
Now Robert, Sarah and Jax have all found local foster homes,
and the petition doesn't exist anymore. 'Welcome To Leatheton' is available from https://www.amazon.co.uk/Welcome-Leatheton-This-Ben-Westwood/dp/1098989929