Surrey County Council celebrated the achievements of the children in its care, at an awards ceremony at Notre Dame School in Cobham on 1 November 2019. The annual Oscarz event came about as an action from the Surrey Care Council – a group of young people in care, who meet regularly to talk about what they want to change about the care system. They felt it was hugely important to children and young people in care to have a special occasion to mark their achievements.
Dave Hill, Director of Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture at Surrey County Council said:
“It’s important to us as corporate parents of these often vulnerable children and young people, to celebrate all that they achieve and put their voices at the heart of everything we’re doing at the Council to improve their experience in care. This evening of celebration is my favourite night of the year.”
Apprentices from Surrey’s User Voice and Participation team, who are themselves previously looked after children, organised the event. It was aimed at the almost 1,000 children currently being looked after by Surrey County Council and around 600 care leavers between the age of 18 and 25.
Children and young people were nominated by staff and carers working with them under different categories and awards were given for academic, personal, arts and sports achievements. There were also employment and participation awards.
One of the young people said:
“Having my achievements recognised at such a fun and special event is a massive boost to my confidence. Having an award at a ceremony makes me feel like someone – someone that matters.”
There was a special performance from new solo artist and Surrey care leaver, Fia, who sang the Children’s Rights song which she wrote for the team.
A special achievement award was given to Jamie-Leigh Clark who was recently promoted to Assistant Manager of the User Voice and Participation team at Surrey County Council. This special award marked Jamie’s journey from a child in care, to a successful apprentice with Surrey County Council and now her promotion to Assistant Manager.
“For nine years I’ve been working with looked after children and care leavers to ensure their voice is heard at a senior level. I know from my own experience in care how important it is that they are empowered to influence positive change in the Surrey care system. I can honestly say I wouldn’t change my role for the world. The feeling of reward and pride I have every single day because of these children and young people is real.”
For more information please contact Catherine Payne Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org