University joy of Burnley former care girl
A WOMAN from Burnley who spent most of her ‘heart-breaking’ childhood in care has spoken of her delight at starting a university degree.
Nicola Burton, 23, was put into care at the age of three along with her five brothers and one sister, after suffering a traumatic upbringing.
Now she wants to become a foster parent so she can give others the chances she never had when she was younger.
The student, who now lives in Rawtenstall, is studying for a degree in Child Care and Learning Development at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk.
She has hopes of becoming a primary school teacher and decided to tell her story as part of National Care Leavers’ Week.
Nicola, a former pupil of Rosehill Junior School and Barden High School, said: “It was so scary when I was moved into care, but the older girls would look out for you and it just became a way of life.
“When I was younger I was moved around a lot, which was heart-breaking at times. I’d be told that they had found me a home for life and then without any explanation I’d be carted off somewhere else.
“It was horrible feeling rejected and wondering what I’d done wrong, why these people didn’t want me.”
Eight years ago she was put with new carers, Bev and Jonathan Ashton, who encouraged her to do better at school and go to university.
Nicola added: “I want to tell other people in care to do what they feel is best for them and put the past behind them and not let it destroy their future.
“When I have children or foster I want to give them the best in life and give them a loving home, something that I never had when I was little.
“I want to show that people in care are the same as everybody else and should be given the same chances in life.”
Joan Blee, administration and support manager of student services at Edge Hill University, said: “Care leavers have had to cope with very tough times and have been through so much, so if we can help them achieve in any way it makes my job worthwhile.”