the story of


For Care Day, we met up with Tayler.

Tayler is a care experienced young person who has her own podcast, Tay Does Life. Therefore, she is usually the one asking the questions but we thought we’d ask her about her experience of being in care and her drive for education.

did you like school as a child?

I have always felt that there has been a misconception that foster children don’t want to learn. I don’t know if this stemmed from real life experiences or Tracey Beaker. 

For me, this was so far from the truth!

When I was in school I felt safe. It was a place I could learn and play. I used to be so excited for school.

I found my love of education from a young age because I simply hated being at home. Although, this love followed me all the way through into my adolescent years even when I had caring and loving foster carers.

I remember my secondary school music teacher really did make me feel safe. You would either find me in the music room or in the drama department in school, it was where I felt most happiest, and still is.

I play clarinet in bands even now and musical theatre is a huge part of my own personality and expression.

I loved education and I felt like it repaid me in turn. I passed all of my GCSEs despite moving several times throughout the period and again, I passed all of my A-Levels despite moving several more times.

Another highlight for me was winning the writing competition at the school’s Eisteddfod which resulted in me winning the Eisteddfod chair and the points needed for my team to win! 

In short, school was my saving grace. 

meeting someone like me

When I was 12, I became a member of a charity in Wales for children in care, called Voices From Care Cymru (VFCC for short). 

At VFCC, I met someone who changed my life forever, James.

He was slightly older than me and he mentioned how he was planning on going to university. For me, it was like a switch had flicked. 

Up until that point I never thought young people in foster care could go to university, I thought it was a place for only the most academic with all the money and support in the world. 

After this moment, I knew what I was working towards.

I found myself wanting this more than anything else in the world.

I remember opening my A-Level results knowing that this A4 paper was the only thing between me and my dreams of going to University, and I did it!

I passed my A-Levels with flying colours, I knew that I was going to fly and fly high, I did!

my time at Aberystwyth University

Of course like anyone I had doubts if I was ‘intelligent’ or ‘academic’ enough to go to university.

But I knew deep down that I had as much right to be at university as the next person. I went against all the odds and became a member of the 6%.

“Only 6% of Care Leavers go to University” and I became a part of that statistic.

I had financial support from the university and I clicked well with one of my lecturers, Kate. She really helped me when I was struggling with my academic work. I was so active in speaking to my lecturers about what I could do to improve.

I knew I didn’t have parents to fall back on. 

So I had to work hard for this.

hiding the care side of me

When I first entered university I planned on keeping my care identity on the down low. It was a new start and I didn’t want to ruin anything by telling anyone I was a ‘care kid’.

I know it sounds silly but I did feel embarrassed for a little while about growing up in the care system just in case people made misconceptions. 

I was training for the London Marathon when I came to university. I was raising money for the NSPCC, which is a children’s charity,  preventing abuse and helping those affected to recover.

I didn’t share with ANYONE why I’d chosen that charity.

I met my partner pretty early on in my first year of uni, and didn’t really mention about my past or that I grew up in the care system for a little while. When it did come up, he was so lovely and said “why would that change anything?”. 

It was at that moment I realised that there are people out there who love me , for me. 

After around six months, I started wearing my foster care badge loud and proud. I can understand why some people choose to hide it, but I felt that I could tell the world now. In turn I felt fully comfortable in my identity. 

I didn’t choose this life but what I can choose is where I go from here.

When I was at University I used my life experience in my projects. I made a documentary on the fact that only ‘6% of care leavers go to university’. I ended up leaving university with a First Class Honours. Which was the cherry on top of the cake for me!

Channel 4 and life after

I knew that going back to live with my parents was not an option for me. So, after university I stayed in Aberystwyth working two cafe jobs. I’ve never stopped dreaming and I eventually landed a place on the Channel 4 Production Training Scheme.

I enrolled as a Trainee Researcher at Channel 4. I met so many amazing people and I did really enjoy my time on the scheme. I remember visiting the Channel 4 offices in London and Leeds, and I really felt like I made it.

Then I faced the big world – what do I do with life now?

After applying for several hundred jobs (or so it felt like) within TV I had no luck and I found myself out of work for 6 months. It was a really tough few months and I really struggled most days. I knew I had to reevaluate my life and figure out what else I could do.

I applied for a job working in a primary school helping struggling and looked-after children through education. It wasn’t what I had expected to do, but somehow it feels right. It feels like a full circle. 

I’m moving to a new area which I finally get to call my home with the same guy from my first year at university – who I was too worried to mention I grew up in the care system. 

We’ve been together for nearly 5 years now. I am starting a new job, and the sky’s the limit.

Life is changing and I am here for it.

my podcast – tay does life

I always had the deepest desire to start my own podcast but was often put off because I didn’t want to be judged, but when I was 21 I finally did it and Tay Does Life was launched.

Some episodes follow my own journey from foster care through to my university experiences and life after. While other episodes follow the journey of other inspiring individuals. 

For my first episode In Care Don’t Stare! I remember recording it and deleting it three times, I don’t know where I plucked the courage up but I decided to just go with it and share it online.

And the response has been huge. I decided to release the episode on Care Day last year, an enormous day for care-experienced young people but now it’s extra special because it marks the day in my life I will never forget. 

This podcast has changed me, I have been able to engage with so many incredible people across the country, make friends that will hopefully last a lifetime and build a community where mental health is the centre of all conversation.

I’m not ashamed of being a care leaver. I thought people would judge me, but it wasn’t my fault that I was in care, that was my life path. Now I talk to anyone and everyone about being in care – because it’s nothing to be ashamed of.  I like to think that sharing my journey is paving a way for a difference. 

my future

The future for some people can be scary and a fear-evoking thought but I know that I want the future to be a safe place for children world wide. My desire is to be at the forefront of this change.

By continuing to share my journey and talking to others in a similar position, we hopefully will create change. Like I mentioned earlier, I never stop dreaming.

I don’t know where life is going to take me but I know it won’t be boring.

We are always inspired by Tayler’s belief and drive. We know good things will come her way. Tune in to the Tay does life podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast and Google Podcast.

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