Edinburgh Champions Board
Edinburgh Champions Board was awarded funding of £179,400 for the period of November 2018 to October 2021
Edinburgh Champions Board is a platform for young people with care experience to influence the policy and practice of corporate parents through a range of participation and engagement activities.
By developing its Champions Board approach, City of Edinburgh Council aims to address the cycle of negative outcomes often experienced by looked after children, and to work with young people and local communities to break down the stigma associated with being in care. Their ethos is “putting care experienced young people firmly in the driving seat, to make Edinburgh the best place to grow up.”
The Board has created a leadership programme for young people and professionals, which strengthens trust and builds stronger relationships. Activities also involve participation in regional hub events, sharing learning with other Champions Boards and the development of an action plan for future years of funding and ensuring that the vision of the Champions Board is led by the young people themselves.
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.