Bernicia has become the first non-public sector organisation to sign Northumberland County Council's Care Leaver Covenant 2023+.

The pledge aims to provide care-experienced 16 to 25-year-olds with additional support in five key areas including independent living, education, employment and training safety and security, mental and physical health and finance.

Bernicia has invested £2m so far to support individuals in local communities with job opportunities.

The housing association has an ongoing commitment to care leavers, offering assistance with employment advice, work experience, job applications and interviews.

Bernicia chief executive John Johnston said: “We’re proud to support Northumberland with this renewed commitment.

"Our dedicated employability team has a strong focus on improving care leavers’ access to education, employment and training.

“We are expanding our offer to care leavers month by month as we have seen the positive outcomes our work is having.”

When a child comes into care, the local authority becomes a corporate parent.

Leader of Northumberland County Council, Glen Sanderson, said: "We want all our young people in Northumberland to get the best out of life and reach their potential.

“We take our corporate parenting responsibilities very seriously and want to support the young people in our care and our care leavers to thrive and fulfil their ambitions."

Jane Walker, headteacher of the county council’s Virtual School, said: "We are delighted that Bernicia has signed our Care Leaver Covenant, recognising the outstanding offer that has been made to our young people to create opportunities in the employment sector and providing a service above and beyond our expectations."