Stirling Champions Board
Stirling Champions Board was awarded funding of £219,217 for the period of July 2018 to June 2021
Stirling Champions Board is engaging young people with care experience in decision-making processes by inviting them to set the agenda for the Champions Board meetings, where they are supported to learn leadership, advocacy, negotiation and communication skills.
By involving them at this level, young people have become full partners in the Champions Board, so that decisions are meaningful to them. The support structure also increases their engagement, helping them to become more active citizens in the wider community.
Important issues emerge from these meetings, with young people identifying improved housing, better access to mental health services, access to peer support as well as improvements to educational support as priorities.
Key partners in the development of Stirling’s services for children and young people, such as their Champions Board, include Stirling Council, the University of Stirling, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Services, Who Cares? Scotland and Barnardo’s.
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.