Highland Marks 19th of February as #CareDay

Issued in partnership with Who Cares? Scotland

A chance to join the Inverness Caley Thistle team in training, a special art exhibition and opportunities for young people to shadow some of Highland’s senior public figures will be some of many ways that Highland will be celebrating #CareDay on the 19th February. 

The events feature in a series of activities that local leaders are backing as part of their commitment to supporting those who are growing up in or have left care. #CareDay is a national event that will be celebrated across Scotland, the rest of the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is marked out to celebrate the achievements of children in care and care leavers and to share ideas about how we can create a world where the life chances of these vulnerable youngsters are equal to those of their peers. 

There are over 14,000 children in care in Scotland and over 450 in Highland alone, along with many other children and young people who have recently left care. 

Last year Highland Council held a successful “Chat For Change” event that brought together care experienced young people, professionals and partner organisations as part of shared efforts to make sure those young people with a care experience are truly listened to and supported as they go through care. Now, to mark #CareDay, Steve Barron, Chief Executive of Highland Council, and Northern Division police leader, Chief Superintendent Julian Innes, will each spend a day with a young person who has experienced the care system, sharing what their daily lives involve and their different perspectives on the care system. 

Inverness Caley Thistle FC are providing a unique opportunity for children and young people who are growing up in or have left care to join the First Team for their morning training session. The young people will also enjoy a guided tour of the stadium. And the Club will be pledging to take action in support children in care, providing support and opportunities, and tackling discrimination. 

#CareDay also sees a special art exhibition opening at Eden Court, with works created by children and young people with a background in care. The project, led by the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, has created a host of beautiful art that will go on to be used to help create welcoming new Children’s Hearings premises for vulnerable children in Highland, based in Inverness. 

All the events have been planned in partnership with the children’s charity Who Cares? Scotland and will be a major part of a wide national programme that includes a Care Question Time in Glasgow with those seeking election in May, with a panel including Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, and a ‘Care Family Tartan’ light up of Glasgow City Chambers, to be launched by the Lord Provost of the city

Jemma MacDonald, a 21 year-old with experience of growing up in care, who will be spending the day with Chief Superintendent Julian Innes said: 

‘’These are fantastic opportunities for care experienced young people to come together with leaders, to find out more about each other and what we all think could improve care in Highland. I’m excited and a bit nervous. When I was growing up in care I didn’t always trust the authorities. Now I know they’re part of the solution, and that the things being raised by young people are actually being heard. That’s what can make life better for the young children coming into care now. It’s also great to see Caley Thistle standing up for local youngsters from the community who need their support.’’ 

Chief Executive of the Highland Council, Steve Barron is looking forward to taking part in #CareDay on Friday.  He said: “I think it is great to have a special day marked to celebrate the positive experiences of children and young people in care and I am sure everyone taking part in the many different events will get a lot out of this chance to learn from each other. 

“As a Council we are always looking at ways we can improve the lives of Children and Young People. In a partnership with Who Cares? Scotland and Barnardos, we’re delighted to be the first Council in Scotland to employ 11 care experienced young people as Development Assistants. Their role is to raise the profile of those growing up in care and to shape and influence policy, practice and developments affecting them.  All the young people involved are working hard to improve their own employability skills, and raise their confidence and self-esteem as well as directly improving outcomes for their peers.” 

Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive of Who Cares? Scotland said:

“It is wonderful to see Highland joining the #Care Day celebrations. There are so many talented care experienced young people in Highland and we are all determined that they get the chance to reach their potential. #CareDay allows us to celebrate the achievements of care experienced people and make sure a voice that is rarely heard gets the chance to speak out.

“It is only by listening to the views of care experienced people and understanding their experiences that those who look after them can fully understand what needs to change. Standing together alongside young people, we will amplify their voices, raise their confidence and make sure no one ever feels ashamed of the fact they grew up in care.”

Other activities planned for #CareDay include a huge balloon release in Cardiff, a karaoke party at Belfast City Hall and political hustings with care-experienced young people in Edinburgh. 

17 Feb 2016
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