£225,000 funding to champion Highland’s care experienced young people
Issued by Life Changes Trust
Highland’s care experienced young people are to have a bigger say in the decisions that affect their lives thanks to a funding boost of £225,000.
The money will be used to support Highland’s local ‘Champions Board’,
Champions Boards provide a platform for young people to talk directly to local authority staff, elected members and service providers to ensure that decisions which affect their lives are informed by their own experiences. Through Champions Boards, care experienced young people themselves can influence improvements in the services and support available to them.
Highland’s Champions Board is in its early stages, launching just last year. The funding will be used to support the engagement and empowerment of even more care experienced young people across the region, allowing them to set the agenda around their futures.
Champions Boards themselves are relatively new in Scotland, but are already proving to be extremely effective. They provide an opportunity for young people to articulate the challenges that being in care can bring and how these challenges can be faced and overcome with the right support.
Champions Boards aim to put young people in the driving seat, where their views, opinions and aspirations are central.
They build the capacity of young people to influence change themselves by showing confidence in their abilities and potential, giving them the platform to flourish and grow.
Funding has come from the Life Changes Trust, an independent charity established with a Big Lottery Fund endowment of £50 million to improve the lives of two key groups in Scotland: care experienced young people and people affected by dementia.
Highland is one of 8 local authority areas receiving funding to support or establish Champions Boards. A total of £2 million has been awarded to Aberdeen, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, Dundee, Falkirk, Highland and Dumfries & Galloway.
Heather Coady, Director of the Trust’s Care Experienced Young People Programme said, “Champions Boards are about empowering care experienced young people, so that their experience and expertise are taken into account by those with responsibility for their well-being. Allowing young people to have input into the development of services which directly affect them ensures that they are fit for purpose, relevant and most importantly effective and protective. Champions Boards show care experienced young people that they are supported, listened to and respected.”
Bill Alexander, The Highland Council’s Director of Care and Learning said: “The Champions Board in Highland got off to a great start, and is already having a tremendous impact. It is bringing care experienced young people together with elected members, senior officers and practitioners across the public agencies across the authority. This recognises that young people who have experience of services, know those services, and need to be heard so that further improvements can be made. The announcement of new funding from the Life Changes Trust is extremely welcome. It will help consolidate the work of the Board and will mean that the contribution of care experienced young people in Highland can make a real differences to services, and to the lives of other young people.”