Barkingside student, 22, who almost went to prison backs foster carers for ‘believing in him’

Actress Natalie Dormer with care leaver Simeon Sargeant, who is supported through Barnardo's Redbrid

Actress Natalie Dormer with care leaver Simeon Sargeant, who is supported through Barnardo's Redbridge Leaving Care service. [Picture: Barnardo's] - Credit: Archant

A care leaver – who almost went to prison before his foster parents turned his life around – has called for more people to take in children.

Simeon Sargent, 22, is now in his second year studying hospitality at Birmingham University, but at one point it looked as if he wasn’t even going to sit his GCSEs.

“When I was 14 I was in a children’s home in Ilford, and I got a call saying I was going to go with this family in Barkingside,” Simeon explained.

“I was sort of a surprise, they were expecting a five-year-old not a 14-year-old. I walked into a room made up for a baby.”

He continued: “I was getting into a lot trouble, in police cars a lot, but my foster parents changed everything around.”

Simeon said they started off by focusing on his education, making sure he could take GCSEs.

“A lot of people would have thought this is too much trouble, I don’t need to bother with this kid but they didn’t.

Most Read

“They believed in me a lot, they stuck by me. There was a time when I was about to go to prison but they changed that.

“Now I’m in my second year of university.”

Simeon explained that by time he was 18 he was part of the family.

He was his carers’ first foster child and since then they have taken in several more.

Simeon was speaking to the Recorder as part of Redbridge Council’s Foster Care Fortnight, from May 16 until May 29.

The council urgently need more foster carers, particularly for those 11 and over, the age when Simeon was fostered.

He commented: “I would say to people do it. It’s something that’s really important for the next generation, it means we’re more than just statistics.

“Think of it as your own child, how would you want them to be treated. It is so rewarding and nice.”