Why I launched ‘Foundling: Found’ children in care podcast

June 8, 2021

Julian Brown, founder and producer of Foundling: Found podcast

Young journalist Julian Brown explains his motivation for giving a voice to those who often feel silenced

As a 20-year-old care leaver, I have been really proud to launch ‘Foundling: Found’, a new fortnightly podcast series, in partnership with the UK’s oldest children’s charity Coram. The podcast explores how children in care have been depicted from the early days of the Foundling Hospital up to the present day.

I’m interested in politics and the future of the care system; how present and past perceptions of those in care impacts on the way society as a whole views young people in care. Also, I’m interested in how living in care affects the rest of your life in different aspects. I have found the process of creating the podcast very interesting. It is giving me the opportunity to learn different skills and express how I truly feel.

My motivation behind the podcast was first and foremost to give a voice to care experienced people who can often feel silenced in the media; or they feel that their stories are being told for them via the media portrayal. I was also inspired to develop an environment where we can go through the archives from Coram’s Voices Through Time project and have a conversation around the policy and functions of the care system as well as societal issues related to its history.

I hope to challenge some of the stigma around those in care; whether that be through societal attitudes and misunderstandings or through the media portrayal

Also, I was inspired by being able to use my creativity in the process, right from the very start. From having the idea, to pitching it to Rebecca at Coram, then creating the foundations of the podcast. This has included the show’s structure to the jingle. We went on to pitch our idea to various people and started to research and create content for the podcast. This led to the creation of Foundling: Found.

Guests who feature on the 12-part series include author of the ‘Tracy Beaker’ and ‘Hetty Feather’ books, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Founding Director of social enterprise Madlug, Dave Linton, historian Lucinda Hawksley, and of course young people with experience of the care system.

Through Foundling: Found I firstly hope to be able to offer a safe space to have a conversation around the care system and people’s experience of it. I hope, in turn, to give the listener an insight into the issue, to show that each care experienced person is an individual with an individual story.

Secondly, I hope to challenge some of the stigma around those in care; whether that be through societal attitudes and misunderstandings or through the media portrayal. I want to open up a conversation about what effect those public attitudes have on those with care-experience. Ahead of the government’s care review this year, I am aiming for these conversations to have an impact on future policy.

Foundling: Found logo designed by Julian

I am a care leaver ambassador for Coram’s Voices through Time project. I am involved in changing perceptions by bringing the real stories of care to the forefront. We do this through highlighting the history of care, right back to the Foundling Hospital in 1739 to the present day. Most importantly for me, my role is about what we can do change the stigma. We are at the core of the decision-making process for the programme and the creative development of the work.

The skills I bring to the role are my wide understanding of the political spectrum that includes my work with local authority and policy changes. I have a focus on investigative journalism that I combine with voicing my opinions and a natural gift of the gab.

Through making the podcast, I have learned about the process of structuring the series, researching, recording, editing and producing the whole thing, as well as the social media content. I have also learned the importance of making the podcast a safe environment; both for guests to share and listeners to engage with the content.

My advice for any young person thinking to start a podcast would be to step outside the box and take whatever opportunity comes your way

The process of making the podcast has been a notable learning curve. From the outset, I realised I may have underestimated the amount of work needed. However, I embraced this. It is definitely a project where 99% of the work is unseen. But the 1% people hear is the most important and the thing I most look forward to.

I would say the only real challenge I have faced was when the original media platform we were using could no longer offer the intended support. However, I learned from this and found myself in a more enlightened and stable position afterwards.

My best experience is when interviewing guests or after the interviews because I feel a great sense of responsibility, not just for the cause that the podcast is about, but also the guest and the content we create. Also, there’s the feeling that this has the potential to change someone’s perception around those in care and that gives me my drive to do the podcast.

A key piece of advice for any young person thinking to start a podcast would be to step outside the box and take whatever opportunity comes your way. Embrace your creativity and have self-belief. No matter the challenges that may come just embrace and learn from them. Also, use your passion and determination to drive you to where you want to be!

I hope to build on Foundling: Found with a second series focused on societal issues that heavily affect those in care

My future plans are firstly to continue challenging the perception and policies surrounding the care system and those in care whether through Foundling: Found or other means.

I also hope to build on Foundling: Found by working on a second series. That will be focused on societal issues that heavily affect those in care, but also the policies surrounding the system itself and how services are involved with those in and out of the system.

I hope to continue to offer a real insight into the real stories of care and how the care system works through Founding: Found and the investigative journalism that I will be doing.

The Foundling: Found podcast series is one of the pieces of creative content being produced by young people and shared as part of Coram’s #RealStoriesOfCare campaign, to showcase the diverse experiences of care-experienced young people today and through history.

Foundling: Found is available on Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible and coming soon to other platforms. Find out more here.

Find out more about the #RealStoriesOfCare campaign and follow and take part on Coram’s social media channels using #RealStoriesOfCare.

Care-experienced young people aged 16-25 can find out more about volunteering as a Story of Care Ambassador and taking part in upcoming creative workshops.

Julian is an aspiring journalist, founder and producer of ‘Foundling: Found’ children in care podcast and care leaver ambassador for Coram’s Voices through Time project.

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