Too many of the most vulnerable young people in England are "cut adrift when they need help the most" say MPs.

Young care leavers are still being let down according to the Head of the Public Accounts Committee, who says there has been "systemic failing" in support to young people leaving foster care or children's homes.

A BBC report today says the committee found that outcomes for the 10,000 young people aged 16 or over who leave care each year are "poor and worsening" and that the quality and cost of support to care leavers "varies unacceptably" between local authorities.

This report highlights the need for TimeBank projects such as Starting Together which supported female care leavers during their transition to independent living. The project was a small pilot, which originated in Southwark and ran for 18 months from May 2013. It provided young women with a volunteer mentor at the point they left care.  Mentors met the care leavers for around five hours a month for six months, offering them both practical and emotional support as they made the transition to independent living.

Young people are particularly vulnerable when they leave care. They have to leave home much earlier than those who have not been in the care system and are often the least equipped to deal with it. They may be susceptible to anxiety and depression and the project aimed to act as a preventative measure to long-term mental health difficulties.

Although a small pilot project, the outcomes were very positive. One third of mentees were supported with finding or applying for jobs and 50% with drafting a CV or cover letter. 42% received help with applying to college or college work and another 42% gained support with every day matters such as starting driving lessons, budgeting or housing issues. The young people also became used to confiding in their mentors about day to day issues or concerns, learning to open up about a range of personal difficulties.

One of the young women, Carla, was supported by her mentor with her dream of becoming a lawyer. She said she found the help she gained from her mentor invaluable: ‘I’ve become more focused and targeted. I’m ready and on track with school work and applications. I’ve made lots of plans and really enjoyed the experience.’

Another – Ellie - was helped with her goal of living more healthily, by attending gym classes with her mentor, shopping for nutritious food and discussing affordable, tasty recipes together. She says that her mentor has been ‘friendly, motivating and patient’ and has encouraged her to do activities which were previously a struggle.

This project has sadly finished now, but we’d love to offer this support to many more young people and roll it out more widely across the UK. So if you know of any funders that would be up for supporting us please do let us know as we’d really like to see many more care leavers benefit from a project that is so clearly needed.