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As Cold As The Cold Wind Blows

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 by

Following on from my last well received blog, I’ve decided to touch on the subject of emotions. On the 8th of August 1992 I came into this world, I was a new born baby and like everyone else when they first enter the world, I had my whole future ahead of me.

As a baby I needed a number of basic needs which had to be met, I needed to be fed, changed, bathed and most importantly loved.

It is well known that dependent on whether your needs are met as a child, this shall form a foundation for you in terms of your emotions. As a child when I was upset, my mum was too ‘out of it’ to comfort my basic need for reassurance, when I was hungry this was not met, when I was dirty my needs were not met, when I needed to have my injections my needs were not met.

I was brought into care due to numerous reasons, the main ones being neglect, physical and emotional abuse. I had formed a strong attachment to my mum in the 5 years we were on and off living with her, I had a bond with my dad – but when he walked away from us at 3 years old, this was the real first shock to my system in terms of loss. This was someone who I loved and someone who was supposed to love me but he just left. When I was young I was a happy, hyperactive, loving child but this would take a dark turn during my time within the system. 

So when I got taken into care with my brother and sister, I once again had to experience being taken away from my mum which is terms of emotions, made me extremely angry, resentful, scared, lonely and confused. 

Many of my foster parents were nice people, they spoke to you, helped you to go on with your daily routine, but for some reason I never felt apart of any ones family. This was back in the day when if you would cry or be upset, you would be offered a side hug, I was never taught growing up or shown what affection was, every bit of affection shown just felt fake and artificial.

I never had contact with my mum and with the absence of my father, I would always blame myself for them not wanting to see me, this built up emotions which eventually made me hate myself. As I grew older and started to experience seeing other young people with their families this made me extremely bitter and jealous.

I would not make friends with childen who weren’t in care as I felt they had been given something better than me, a normal life.

My emotions began to change even more when I experienced residential care, I was sent to a therapeutic childens home which was nearly 200 miles from my local area, it had 5 units and 120 children lived there. I was placed on a unit with 5 young people who were housed here 52 weeks a year.

During this time I was severely bullied by older children, the age ranges were from 8-17, I was physically abused by staff, I had to share a room with other young people and the attacks I experienced at night made me scared to sleep. This eventually turned me into a ‘cold’ emotionless child. If we kicked off, we would be put into what we called the ‘cell’ this was a small room with padded walls and floors, staff would restrain you to the point where you were in absolute agony or even worse couldn’t breath, they would then throw you into this room, lock the door and leave you for thirty minutes to ‘calm down’.

Once again I was shown no love, no emotion, no affection I felt as though I was worthless, all I can remember thinking was why did they put me here? Why would my corporate parent put me through this abuse? Would anyone ever ask me if I was okay? The home was like a virtual prison, we were institutionalised, literally told when to sleep, wake up, eat, shower, dress etc.

I was described by staff and family as a ‘cold child who showed very little emotion,’ what they didn’t know was that deep down inside I wanted to express my feelings. Yet every time I did I was either hurt or punished for it and most importantly how can you show something that you’ve never experienced your self? 

Things have improved in adult life, but I struggled with relationships as I couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to show love and affection, even when my daughter was born I struggled with how I should care and show love to this child as I’d never been shown this myself. I learnt to never show emotion as almost every person I did, including my mum, dad, past social worker, brother, sister, care staff whoever it may have been, every single one left me on my own to fight through this living hell which I was experiencing.

A thought to leave you all with.

I always seem to have one question running around my head, why did they take me away from my mum to gave me a ‘better’ life when in stark reality the life I had with my mum was miles better from the life I was being exposed to now? How is it that I can be taken away from my family for neglect and abuse etc. but then you can place me somewhere where I experienced more abuse, more traumatic events, constant bullying and an experience that had more adverse effects on me than being my mum ever did.

The question always burning inside me was, “would you do this to your own child?”- I think not.

*The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and they do not reflect in any way those of the organisations to which they are affiliated.

Hi all, my name is Liam Hill, I am a founder and CEO of a social enterprise called Voice for Children CiC. This is my first of hopefully many blogs to come in the future. For those readers that don’t know, I was put on a full care order at the age of 5 and during the next 13 years I was moved 64 times.

It is no secret that a large amount of children and young adults who have been in the care system have experienced high number of placements.  At the age of 5, I was taken away from my family home and placed within a foster family with my brother and sister, all I can remember of that day was police kicking down our front door and social services removing us from our mum.

During the first 5 years of my childhood I had experienced severe neglect, physical & emotional abuse and was being raised by a single mother as my dad was not around. My mum had a heroin addiction and on numerous occasions was sent to prison, this was the beginning of my care journey.

I remember pulling up to a house with nice cars on the drive, the garden decorated with flowers and a woman with a smile to greet me at the door, this was already a shock to myself as I was raised on a notorious estate called Moat House, these were high rise flats and the crime statistics in this area were extremely high.

I remember feeling scared and confused as to who this lady was and to come to terms with the fact that this was my new home and everything I had known my whole life was suddenly about to change.

Myself and my siblings walked into the house and instantly we were hit with new things we had never experienced before, the foster carers had pets, the floors were carpeted, dinner was prepared at the table for everyone to sit around, they had numerous televisions, 2 bathrooms, 6 bedrooms, a conservatory, the list could go on. When we lived with our mum we lived in a flat with no carpets, fridge with no food, having to get ourselves tea and so on.

We ate dinner together and all I could remember was demolishing my plate of food whilst trying to take in the new environment. When our social worker left our foster carer had run us a nice warm bath and they helped us to get a wash, put us in our pjs and read us a story before we went to bed, even though this may be considered normal and comforting, all I could remember was wanting to be back with my mum, back to the place we called home. Some people may ask why? The simple answer is because that was my life, yes we weren’t always warm, yes we may not have always been fed, yes we may have been hit by my mums partners and yes it was a terrible time, but the love we had for our mother was unconditional and this life was the only life we knew.

As time went on, I struggled to adjust to the care system, I met numerous professionals, I had numerous doctors, dentist appointments etc. I was permanently excluded from my primary school as I had attacked a member of staff when trying to run off to my mums, which was located close to the school. At times I would become angry as I always blamed my self for being in care, why didn’t my mum want me? Was I not good enough? Could I have done something to stop this?

No one ever explained to me the reason for everything that was happening, I was just told I needed a new mummy and daddy that could care for me.

I would often cry myself to sleep missing the familiar sound of my mums voice, the familiar smell when we cuddled up, even at this young age without my mum I felt low and didn’t want to be alive without her.

My behaviour became worse, I disengaged from education, became abusive to my foster family, was falling out with my family, at this point my foster parents had, had enough, my social worker came around one day and even though I was young, I knew something must be happening for her to be there, after everything that had happened she is the one who was making the decisions. On Christmas eve in 1997 my foster mum said to me that ‘I am your new mummy,’ I stood up on the table and said ‘you are not my mum’ and I began to damage the kitchen. Shortly after my social worker arrived, all my belongings were in black bin bags, my brother and sister were in bed and within 10 minutes I was in the car, little did I know I was leaving and was on my way to a new emergency placement.

I once again felt that it was my fault I have had to be moved, it was my fault I couldn’t see my brother and sister any more, it was my fault that my mum doesn’t want me. Never at one point did I feel like I was the victim, I felt I was the perpetrator for everything that was happening. Yes my behaviour wasn’t the best, yes I was not currently in education, yes I always wanted to run away but did anyone ever think that I was just a scared young boy, who has suffered serious amount of trauma and all I wanted was my mum.

 

Voice for Children Community Interest Company (CiC) is a non profit organisation which works with Local Authorities and organisations to improve the lives of our most vulnerable young people in society. We offer services such as mentoring where we work with young people on a 1-1 basis to improve their lives.

Cheshire East council have been running a football group which care leavers to give them a hobby but also to improve their emotional well being. Some of our young people are 17, living indpenedently and dont have enough money for extra activities. We are trying to raise funds so we can ensure the group can continue. The group is an improtant part of some of these young peoples lives, they sometimes have no family, no friends and are on there own in their properties.

The group currently has a minimum of 10 young care leavers who attend reguarly every week, some of this group also includes Asylum seekers and this actvity is there only opportunity to enage with the local community. Alot of these young people suffer from mental health issues and playing football helps them to manage this. These young people have been in care and are now care leavers, they have had a difficult start in life. We want to continue the group and want it to expand to help give young people a sense of community.

We are trying to raise funds to pay for all the league fees for a year as due to these young persons circumstances they don’t have enough money to play, so the council currently help to fund this, we also offer transportation to get them to the training sessions and matches. The money shall also go towards kits for all the players, as currently we have donated kits, some of these don’t fit and are worn. Our players often turn up in their tracksuits as we currently have no shorts.

The funds for a year for the matches including the games is £500. We have priced the kits as £25 per person which equates to £250. Some of these young people have never left town or been on a holiday, they have been away from family for years and have suffered abuse both physical and mentally, so we are also trying to raise funds to take part in a football tournament against another authority in Devon. We would need roughly £1250, this would cover fees for the tournament, accomodation for the weekend, transport. This would be for 15 people and would also include their meals.

Please help us raise this funding to continue the group which is an only outlet in these young peoples lives, and the only activity they are involved in which makes them feel part of something and puts a smile on their face.

Thank you.

You can donate here. 

Voice for Children’s Liam Hill was given the opportunity to speak about his personal experiences in the care system and how Voice for Children began, live on ITV.

You can see the interview in full by clicking on the video below. #MakingFuturesBrighter

 

 

As Cold As The Cold Wind Blows

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 by

Following on from my last well received blog, I’ve decided to touch on the subject of emotions. On the 8th of August 1992 I came into this world, I was a new born baby and like everyone else when they first enter the world, I had my whole future ahead of me. As a baby

Hi all, my name is Liam Hill, I am a founder and CEO of a social enterprise called Voice for Children CiC. This is my first of hopefully many blogs to come in the future. For those readers that don’t know, I was put on a full care order at the age of 5 and

Voice for Children Community Interest Company (CiC) is a non profit organisation which works with Local Authorities and organisations to improve the lives of our most vulnerable young people in society. We offer services such as mentoring where we work with young people on a 1-1 basis to improve their lives. Cheshire East council have

Voice for Children’s Liam Hill was given the opportunity to speak about his personal experiences in the care system and how Voice for Children began, live on ITV. You can see the interview in full by clicking on the video below. #MakingFuturesBrighter    

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