Stirling’s care experienced young people will be able to have more say in the decisions that affect their lives, thanks to £220,000 funding from the Life Changes Trust. The money will be used to set up and support a local ‘Champions Board’ in the area.
Champions Boards provide a unique platform for young people to draw on their own experiences to act as expert advisors, talking directly with staff and elected members from local authorities, health boards and other public agencies. In this way they can highlight the challenges that being in care can bring and how these challenges can be faced and overcome with the right support.
With the £220,000 funding, the Stirling Champions board aims to engage young people in the decision-making process by inviting them to set the agenda for the Champions Board meetings, where they will be supported to learn leadership, advocacy, negotiation and communication skills. By involving them at this level, care experienced young people will become full partners in the Champions Board, so that decisions are meaningful to them.
The support structure will also help them to become more engaged and become active citizens in the wider community.
Stirling Council has around 277 young people in the care system and they have identified improved housing, better access to mental health services, access to peer support as well as improvements to educational support as priorities.
Stewart Carruth, Chief Executive of Stirling Council said, “The creation of a Champions Board for Stirling and the support that we are receiving from the Life Changes Trust represents a great opportunity for us to continue the work that we are doing to improve the outcomes and life chances for our care experienced young people.
“Our Champions Board will be a participatory forum where the voices of young people are listened to and heard, shaping practice to evoke positive change. The board will be co-chaired by the Chief Executive and a young person, who will ensure that the views and needs of Stirling's young people are at the heart of service delivery.”
A care experienced member of the Care Reference Group added, ‘I'm glad Stirling can now set up its own Champions board. The £220,000 will help us get our views out there and make a difference in the lives of care experienced young people, like myself, and open up more opportunities to help us in the future.'