East Renfrewshire Champions Board
East Renfrewshire Champions Board was awarded initial funding of £224,900 for the period of April 2016 to March 2019. They were awarded a further £100,000 to run from April 2019 to March 2021.
The purpose of this funding was to develop East Renfrewshire’s Champions Board and to improve the life chances of young people with care experience within their community planning partnership and the wider community.
The Champions Board consists of a group of young people and a group of adult champions that work within the council. The Board has a particular focus on inclusion and participation, providing a meaningful forum for young people with care experience to directly influence and, through time, redesign services that affect them in a co-produced way by influencing their corporate parents. It offers them leadership opportunities, developing relationship-based practice and the opportunity to change practice and policy. It also empowers young people to have a voice and use their own experiences to help others and be a part of transformational change for East Renfrewshire’s young people.
Opportunities the Champions Board creates include a forum to build relationships with key people within the council (East Renfrewshire’s corporate family), make things better for future generations of care experienced young people, fun activities, making friends, training and learning and team building. They also have their Mini Champs, for younger children who are care experienced.
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.