East Dunbartonshire Champions Board
East Dunbartonshire Champions Board was awarded funding of £224,682 for the period of April 2019 to March 2022
East Dunbartonshire had already established a participation group for looked after and accommodated children. Their Champions Board was established to engage with even more young people with care experience across the region.
The Champions Board aims to increase the level of participation and influence young people with care experience have on the decisions affecting their lives. Young people will have greater contact with elected members, East Dunbartonshire Council and other decision makers and service providers. This will ensure that their views are represented in all areas of community planning.
The Board is supporting work to ensure that:
- young people engage and build positive relationships with their many Corporate parents
- policy and practice become more responsive to young people with care experience
- public awareness and attitudes become increasing positive towards young people with care experience
- young people with care experience benefit from service improvements such as improved housing, better access to mental health services, access to peer support as well as improvements to educational support
Young people-led activities are at the heart of their programme, with regular meetings, recruitment training and a summer activity programme where the voices of young people with care experience are being listened to and acted upon.
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.