Falkirk Champions Board
Falkirk Champions Board was awarded initial funding of £201,160 for the period of July 2016 to June 2019. They were awarded a further £100,000 to run from July 2019 to June 2021.
Falkirk Champions Board aims to empower young people to positively influence the future of the care system based on their experiences and opinions.
Falkirk Champs is a group of young people who want to make things better for future generations. They meet regularly to have food, a blether and to prepare for the all-important Champions Board meetings which happen every couple of months.
In the Champions Board meetings, young people meet local politicians and service directors from Falkirk Council. The young people who come to the Falkirk Champs group get to decide what is spoken about at these meetings - things that matter to people in the group. These include developing routes for effective participation of young people where they feel able to shape policy/practice relating to their lives, and by developing the Have Your Say Group. They are also involved in improvements to service design, commissioning and funding decisions so that they better meet their needs
Through these meetings, young people are improving visibility and understanding of the issues facing young people with care experience.
The Board also provides lots of opportunities for young people to have fun and gain new skills, such as going on sailing trips and doing youth awards such as like the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
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.