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Champions Boards Evidence and Learning

On the 16th November 2021, the Life Changes Trust hosted an online webinar, entitled ‘Champions Boards Learning Event’.

The purpose of this webinar was to explore the Champions Boards’ unique approach, and to look at the impact and learning from their evaluation, which was carried out by Research Scotland. We also heard directly from young people who have been involved in Champs Boards, about what it felt like for them to be part of something that gave them agency to have a say in policies and practices that directly affected them.  We also held a second webinar on the afternoon of the 16th, looking more closely at the evaluation.

 There are 3 reports linked to the evaluation: Evaluation of the Champions Board Approach Full Report; Evaluation of the Champions Board Approach Summary Report; Evaluation of the Champions Board Approach - Young Person's Summary Report


The evaluation of Champions Boards looked at how far Trust funding had been successful in, among other things, the following:

  • young people with care experience develop positive relationships through Champions Boards and related support
  • young people with care experience become active in their communities
  • young people with care experience develop the confidence and skills to influence policy/practice relating to their lives
  • corporate Parents and service providers have improved understanding of the needs and aspirations of care experienced young people

The Trust’s Champions Boards funding initiative began in 2016, and was built on the concept of supporting young people with care experience to come together to engage directly with those who make key decisions about the care system. Our vision was for a cultural shift, where Corporate Parents build genuine and trusting relationships with the young people that are in their care. To date we have funded 21 Boards across the county. There are also several other Boards in operation that are not Trust funded, but are part of the Champions Board network that has been supported by the Trust.

The morning webinar on the 26th explored the Champions Boards’ unique approach, and looked at the impact and learning from their evaluation, which was carried out by Research Scotland. We also heard directly from young people who have been involved in Champs Boards, about what it felt like for them to be part of something that gave them agency to have a say in policies and practices that directly affected them, and from some of the Champs Board supporters who have been on that journey alongside them. 

First, Carole Patrick, Director of Evidence and Influencing for the Trust's Young People with Care Experience Programme, talked about the Trust’s investment in Champions Boards – not just financially but with commitment, time and an open mind.  

Next, we heard from Gary Brown and Craig Campbell. Gary is the former Lead Officer for Perth Champions Board – and now head of the National Leadership Network, hosted by the Life Changes Trust.  And Craig is the Champions Board and Corporate Parent Manager for West Dunbartonshire Champs. They talked about how important Champions Boards have been for young people, and reflected on their own Champions Board journeys.

Nadia Hyder and Katy MacMillan from Research Scotland shared key findings from the evaluation, which looked at the extent to which Champions Boards were affecting positive change for young people with care experience, empowering them and supporting them to be part of the decision-making process in matters that affected their own lives.

We also heard from three Champions Boards:

  • Falkirk Champions Board showcased a short film they made in response to The Promise, and Coordinator Sarah Stow spoke about what it meant to them.
  • ‘Champions for Change’, the South Ayrshire Champions Board, made a film as a letter to their Corporate Parents, expressing the things that mattered most to them in their lives, and asking directly for changes that they wanted to see for all young people with care experience.
  • Beth-Anne Logan and Laura Campbell spoke about their experiences with the North Lanarkshire Champs Board.

The webinar ended with a Q&A panel session. Our panel included Beth-Anne Logan from North Lanarkshire Champions Board; Gary Brown, National Leadership Network; Bobby Jones, Champions Boards National Network; Jackie Brock, The Promise Scotland; Katy MacMillan, Research Scotland and Carole Patrick from the Life Changes Trust. 

You can watch a recording of our full webinar, or you can just watch some of the presentations, below, whatever works for you.  


You can watch the full webinar, below (the Q&A section is at timecode 1.17.15)


You can watch Carole Patrick's presentation, below


You can watch Katie MacMillan and Nadia Hyder talk about the evaluation, below


You can watch Gary Brown and Craig Campbell talk about their Champions Board journey, below


You can watch two short films from Falkirk and South Ayrshire Champions Boards, below


You can watch Beth-Anne Logan and Laura Campbell from North Lanarkshire Champs Board, below


The afternoon webinar looked more specifically at the impact and learning from the evaluation of our Champions Boards, which was carried out by Research Scotland.

Nadia Hyder and Katy MacMillan joined us to talk about the key evidence, impact and learning from the evaluation and from the Champs Board approach.

There was also a Q&A panel session, which included Katy and Nadia, as well as two peer researchers Anisha Tagore and Sean O’Donnell, as well as Mhairi Reid from the Life Changes Trust.  

You can watch the whole webinar below (the Q&A session is at timecode 35.30)


The Life Changes Trust would like to thank Katie MacMillan, Nadia Hyder, Beth-Anne Logan, Laura Campbell, Gary Brown, Craig Campbell, Falkirk and South Ayrshire Champions Boards, Sarah Stow, Jackie Brock, Anisha Tagore and Sean O’Donnell, Bobby and all the Champions Boards across Scotland and those who support them.