When Mandy Gee was asked to take part in the new Channel 4 show Kids, she knew she had some willing help.

Mandy, a Next Steps Mentor and Post 16 lead for Virtual School, is one of the Council staff featured in episode 2 of the show being screened at 9pm on Wednesday.

The series started last week, promising a close-up look at teenagers and their families in the care system in Coventry – and those working to help and support them.

Packed with drama and humour, the series focuses on six remarkable teenagers – and their families – as they enter a crucial year in their lives and prepare to leave the care system.

It started with a look at Xorin, who, after being exploited by a drugs gang as a young teen, is returning home to Coventry from a children’s home in Wales to rebuild his life with mum Kelly.

It continues this week, focusing on Bayley, who is turning 18 and about to leave her children’s home for good, and Byron, who shocks everyone as he strikes out on his own away from his foster carers.

Mandy said she was at first unsure about being filmed, but soon just ‘got on with it’, and the show reveals one of the many new approaches Council teams are taking to helping those in care.

It shows how Mandy’s dog Mabel plays an important role in building links.


Mandy said: “Being involved with the filming has been amazing. Like many I was unsure about being filmed! However, once I got over my own worries, I simply got on and did my job.

“Those of us who support the young people every day know that they are fantastic, so to be able to help showcase their struggles, resilience and potential, has been worth every moment.

“My role supporting our care leavers is never dull, and you have to be willing to take on some of the most bizarre tasks, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

“Personally, and professionally, the past year of filming has allowed me to be more reflective with regards to my work, and how we can do things differently.

“The journey has supported the role of my dog, Mabel, too. If I had not used Mabel as a vehicle to develop such a strong bond with Bayley, Mabel would not now be a fully assessed PAT (Pets As Therapy) dog, and extending her love to so many other fabulous young people in care.

“Mabel started her PAT journey with Bayley, and we will be forever in Bayley’s debt, and life! I love my job, although, I can see me having to make some big changes to accommodate all the requests I am now getting for a ‘Mabel visit’!”

Mandy hopes the programme will showcase that the city really does care for its young people, and that all the care staff have high aspirations for care leavers, with strong support from leadership and partners.



She added: “There is a genuine, collective approach, of wanting to do more, doing it better, and feeling part of a big family.

“It is about having the principle of the right intervention at the right time in the right place from the right people.

“I consider myself privileged to be a part of the lives of our care leavers, and I cannot express how proud of them I am. I am looking forward to seeing the programmes, and I hope that others see what I see in our young people. Many may judge them, but I hope they learn to love them as I do.

“They are the real stars, and have more courage than any of us could imagine.”

The three-part series finishes on 24 May, and all episodes are available to watch online – www.channel4.com/programmes/kids/on-demand/73527-002.

To learn more about fostering, visit the Council website at www.coventry.gov.uk/fostering

Are you passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people and interested in exploring Social Worker opportunities? The Council is hosting an Open Evening for Social Workers at the Council House on Thursday 25 May, from 4pm to 8pm.

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to connect with individuals featured in the TV show, discover more about Coventry, our current initiatives, and the fantastic opportunities available to join our exceptional team. Why not attend and find out more? Kindly complete a brief form to let us know you’ll be joining us.

You’ll even meet Mandy and Mabel! Mabel will be in her therapy dog gear, and will be actively convincing potential new workers to join the Council by giving cuddles and singing .


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