Care experienced young people across West Lothian will soon have more say in the decisions that affect their lives, thanks to £210,000 funding from the Life Changes Trust. The money will be used to set up a new ‘Champions Board’ in the area.
Champions Boards provide a unique platform for young people to talk directly to local authority staff, elected members and service providers to articulate the challenges that being in care can bring and how these challenges can be faced and overcome with the right support.
In 2015, Scottish charity The Life Changes Trust invested an initial £2 million in 10 trail blazing Champions Boards across Scotland and have now pledged a further £2.5 million to double the number of Champions Boards over the next year.
Four local Champions Boards have already been confirmed as securing funding – in addition to West Lothian, Perth & Kinross, Moray and Inverclyde will also receive £225,000 each.
West Lothian’s Executive councillor for social policy Angel Doran said: “West Lothian Council is committed to making a positive difference for children in our care, and we welcome this move to give them a stronger voice through the Champions Board. The funding from the Life Changes Trust will allow us to establish a formal forum for young people to tell us directly about any issues affecting them, and where we can then work together to resolve issues. We already have a strong tradition of engaging with young people in West Lothian, and this board will build on existing good work to improve their outcomes, informed by the views of the young people affected.”
Liam, who is 18 years old and lives with foster carers, said: “The Champion’s Board will be great for West Lothian young people. As part of the early stages I’ve been to a residential event called Columba 1400 and this really opens doors for you to realise your potential.
“I now know I have the potential to do the best I can. The Champion’s Board will be a way for me and other young people to have more of a say in decisions, have more control and will support us to become confident adults.”