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Highland Champions Board

Highland Champions Board was awarded initial funding of £225,000 for the period of April 2016 to March 2019. They were awarded a further £100,000 to run from April 2019 to March 2021.

Highland Champions Board creates opportunities for care experienced people in Highland to come together and have a voice, acting together for a positive, brighter and happier future. The Champion's Board's aim is to provide a safe place for young people's ideas to thrive. They work together in equal partnership with Corporate Parents to continually create, shape and develop services through really being listened to and valued.

With Life Changes Trust funding, Highland Champions Board wanted to further develop and focus on:

  • increasing the participation of young people with care experience across the geography of the Highlands
  • improving the understanding of effective Corporate Parenting across all levels of organisations
  • further developing relationship based practice
  • increasing employment opportunities for young people with care experience 
  •  further developing opportunities for young people with care experience to explore their leadership skills and abilities
  •  ensuring that young people with care experience have every opportunity to raise the profile of their needs and what services need to do to meet their corporate parenting responsibilities

There are different groups in the Highland Champions Board model.  

Little CHAMPS is for primary school children with care experience, or the children of care-experienced adults who wish to come along and meet other parents.

Social CHAMPS is an opportunity for teens and young adults to meet other young people with experience of care, chill out and have fun.

And there is the Highland CHAMPS leadership group, for teens and young adults interested in exploring and changing the care system.

There are also various other social events and activities, such as a music club.

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.

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