IKEA Exeter launches exhibition as part of Barnardo’s Partnership

Mary Youlden
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 8:58pm

IKEA Exeter has launched a new exhibition with Barnardo’s, shining a light on the journey of young people’s experiences leaving care.

Since 2018, Barnardo’s and IKEA have come together through a national partnership to help improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the UK. Combining IKEA’s expertise in life at home and Barnardo’s 155 years of experience of delivering high-quality services to support young people in need; Barnardo’s and IKEA are united by their belief that every young person deserves a safe place to call home. They have joined forces to support young care leavers to learn independent living skills and to improve their lives at home, while trying to have a long-term impact on the system.

IKEA Exeter gave a group of young people raised in the care system first-hand experience of building and customising their own piece of furniture, expressing themselves through their design. IKEA co-workers worked with Barnardo’s Plymouth Care Journeys to host a series of workshops, allowing young people to build confidence doing something new, connect with new people and share their experience with others. Visitors will be able to view their customised furniture, proudly on display in the exhibition.

The exhibition is part of LifeLabs, a first-of-its-kind online hub designed by IKEA and Barnardo’s, created for young people in the care system, by others with experience of being in care. It hosts video content created by care leavers alongside IKEA co-workers, sharing their knowledge of subjects such as budgeting, mental health and cooking. The aim is to create an online community where care leavers (or any young person) can access practical advice as well as connect with others in similar situations.

Craig White, Visual Merchandiser & Activities Manager at IKEA Exeter said: “Through the LifeLabs exhibition we want to ensure young care leavers are seen and heard, celebrating the skills they have learnt and the friends they’ve made. Leading a workshop for care experienced young people was a wonderful opportunity to encourage them to build on their confidence while learning new life skills. It was a day of storytelling, sharing hopes and dreams for the future. Most importantly, it’s been our pleasure to inspire and build new relationships.”

Rob Harrison, Barnardo's Children's Services Manager at Plymouth Care Journeys said: “Through our work with care experienced young people we know that the opportunity to learn life-long skills as they move towards independence is vital. The LifeLabs project has been fantastic for young people's confidence and self-esteem and they have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the development of the online hub and customising their furniture. We all hope that others will find the content useful and informative too."

The LifeLabs exhibition at IKEA Exeter is free to enter and is on display now until the end of July.

For more information on opening times visit IKEA Exeter.

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