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GL events UK, Official Overlay Supporter of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, is thrilled to nominate a number of Batonbearers for the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay. Its latest Batonbearer nomination can be revealed as Eathan Robinson, who is an apprentice at Miracle Laundry, and was put forward thanks to GL events UK’s existing relationship with social value partner, Jericho.

After a difficult experience growing up in foster care, 18 year old Eathan is now passionate about improving the experiences of other young people in care. His passion for championing change was a key reason why he was nominated as a Batonbearer by his support team at Jericho. Eathan explains his feeling about his experience and what needs to change in his opinion. “Not everyone is able to voice their concerns. I’m lucky enough to be able to do so, so I’d like to keep speaking up for people in care as much as possible, as it could help more and more people. I think the way that people are treated in care isn’t the best. For example, the way that social workers treat the kids in care.

“The majority of the time, they take the words of the care workers over the children. Similarly, the number of social workers that a young person is assigned over time doesn’t allow for any real understanding or empathy between the social worker and the child. Some kids may have six or seven in a short space of time and in extreme cases, as many as ten in one year. They throw you around at different care homes and different care placements. It feels like you’re treated like an animal rather than a human. I first went into care when I was six for a year and then back in when I was 13 until now, as although I’m currently 18, you’re still within the care system until you’re 25.”

Fortunately, thanks to Jericho, Eathan has had the opportunity to begin an apprenticeship with Miracle Laundry. Given the chance to work in a supportive environment has allowed him to recognise the difference it’s made to his life. “Working with Miracle Laundry gives me something to do with my time, work wise. It’s also a place that’s helped me to build good relationships. I’m lucky enough to have a good Manager who is easy to talk to, and who gives me good life advice. Also, the company has been supportive in making it an accessible place to get to. They provided me with a bus pass and by transferring me from my previous apprenticeship to Miracle Laundry, have considerably reduced my 2 hour public transport commute, which in turn has improved my workplace attendance. Overall, I really enjoy having such a big group of supportive people around me. It’s always easy to talk about your experiences and how you’re feeling.”

Not everyone is able to voice their concerns. I can, and I’d like to continue speaking up for people in care as much as possible.

Eathan RobinsonApprentice - Miracle Laundry

Talking to Eathan, it is clear that he feels equally passionate about sport, in particular boxing, and how this has inspired his interest in the Commonwealth Games. “When I heard about being a Batonbearer I was happy as I do have a connection with sport. I love boxing, that’s definitely the sport I love to do the most. I’ve been boxing on and off for about 7 years. I’m always up for trying things. It doesn’t matter if it’s in front of five people or 500 people, so I think the Queen’s Baton Relay will be an interesting opportunity. Often, with large international events like this, I enjoy watching the boxing and weightlifting. I think it’s a good way to release anger – it’s tiring and very physical. It gives me an hour of letting go of stress, which is great for my mental health, as I can just shut out the outside world for that period of time. Of course, it also keeps you fit so overall I enjoy it.”

My mental health is good at the moment, as I live alone in a nice area. But it was bad when I was in care. Mental health is more important than you think and environment can play a big part in that. I would say to others struggling, if you like sport you should try it as it does help mental health but I realise it’s not for everyone and I recommend doing something you enjoy.”

Eathan exudes confidence around his long-term goals for spreading the word and being a catalyst for change. “With the encouragement of others, I’ve taken part in various talks and podcasts, which I’ve found really constructive and enjoyable. In the future, I’d like to be able to do this full time, giving motivational talks about care and mental health, including techniques to help other young people benefit from my experiences.”

GL events UK wishes Eathan every success with his future endeavours, especially as a Batonbearer for the Queen’s Baton Relay. For more updates on some of the incredible individuals and organisations that GL events UK has been working with throughout the course of its social value programme, please click here.