Argyll & Bute Champions Board
Argyll & Bute Champions Board was awarded funding of £221,055 for the period of October 2017 to September 2020
Young people with care experience come together with Corporate Parents to talk about what is important in their lives, how services are delivered and how they could be improved, based on the experiences of the young people themselves.
They have created a participation group to engage with a wide demographic of young people with care experience in Argyll & Bute, and established a Champions Board structure which works for young people and for the Corporate Parenting Board, so that policy and practice become more responsive to young people with care experience.
The Champions Board has also been involved in the development of Argyll & Bute’s SUPPORT forum for practitioners, who are also involved with the Champions Board, peer mentoring training and support and workforce development.
At the heart of this work is listening to young people and having them shape the future of services. This is key to changing not just the present, but the future outcomes of looked after young people in Argyll & Bute.
More about the Champions Boards initiative
Champions Boards support young people with experience of care to work alongside those who make decisions about the care system. In this way, they are involved in the decisions that affect their own lives. Based primarily within Local Authorities, they are a vehicle for young people, Corporate Parents, and other professionals to come together with a shared goal. The aim is to ensure that services are tailored and responsive to the needs of young people with care experience. Champions Boards provide a powerful space for young people, elected members and key decision makers to come together, focussing on what works and what needs attention in their local area. Champions Boards build the capacity of young people to influence change, empower them by showing confidence in their abilities and potential, and give them the platform to flourish and grow.
Young people themselves set the agenda, learn leadership skills and advocate on behalf of their peers. They bring a vital dynamic that has a direct impact on decision-making in their own areas, and become engaged and active citizens as a result. The Champions Board approach is characterised by genuine relationships being formed between young people, staff, and Corporate Parents. This shift in culture from consultation to participation, from ‘doing to’ to ‘doing with’ is key in a Champions Board approach.
Champions Boards continue to be a fundamental part of the Life Changes Trust’s approach to creating transformational and sustainable change. In 2016, the Life Changes Trust invested over £2 million of funding for the first wave of Champions Boards. In 2017, the second wave was launched, bringing the total investment to over £4.4 million. The Trust now invests in 21 Champions Boards across Scotland and a national Network to support them.