North Lanarkshire Champions Board
North Lanarkshire Champions Board was awarded funding of £159,481 for the period of January 2018 to December 2020
In 2016 North Lanarkshire set up a participation group for young people with care experienced, called TNT (Today Not Tomorrow). Funding from the Life Changes Trust has been used to develop this group into a fully-fledged Champions Board, with young people with care experience as leaders and advocates.
Priorities that have already been identified by young people include better, safer accommodation, improved support for physical and mental wellbeing, improvements to educational support and community inclusion.
While many care leavers do well despite the challenges they face, as a group they can experience poorer outcomes, for example higher rates of suicide, poor mental health and physical well-being and greater unemployment and homelessness. By developing its Champions Board, North Lanarkshire is working to address this, so that when young people leave care, they have positive life chances and outcomes just like their peers.
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.