Broadcast legend Toby Anstis has opened up about challenges he faced as an adopted young person.
Toby is backing Adoption UK’s bid to establish the UK’s first specialist youth service for adopted young people.
The HEART presenter, who was adopted as a baby, told how he “never quite felt good enough” and how he suffered from insecurity.
Adoption UK’s Chance to Thrive programme will help adopted young people share experiences, gain new skills and make connections with others who understand them.
Toby is fronting Adoption UK’s Christmas appeal to raise funds for the charity’s Chance to Thrive programme, which hopes to establish a national youth service across the whole of the UK over the next three years.
Toby said: “I occasionally got bullied at school for being adopted. I was also dealing with and overcoming the feelings of being different and not wanting to be rejected. It’s for these reasons that this campaign is very close to my heart.
“When you are adopted, you can sometimes feel like you are not quite good enough. Overall, I am a very strong person but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had insecurities that have had a major impact on my life over the years”
Earlier this year Adoption UK published its Adoption Barometer report which reveals two-thirds (64%) of adopted people aged 16+ have sought help with their mental health.
The report also found that almost half (46%) of adopted people aged 16-25 were involved with mental health services in 2020, compared to the national figure of 17%. Yet most say they have been unable to access the support they need. Problems are often compounded by children falling through the cracks between child and adult services.
The Chance to Thrive programme aims to reduce these numbers through specialist engagement activities. Adoption UK’s CEO Sue Armstrong Brown said: “We urgently need to develop services which help adopted young people build resilience and improve their life chances.”
Toby, who is about to celebrate his 30th year in show business, started his career in 1992 fronting and appearing on countless TV shows and live events. He played Teen Angel in Grease, in the West End before broadcasting for Heart for a record 20 years.
Three-quarters of the children adopted have been removed from their birth families due to abuse or neglect. Early trauma affects a young person’s mental health, ability to trust and future chances.
Adoption UK is taking part in The Big Give’s match funding Christmas Challenge so donations totalling up to £12,500, made between 30th November and 7th December, will be doubled. Toby added: “Give big to the Big Give to help adopted young people create a positive future that is not determined by their past.”