West Dunbartonshire Champions Board
West Dunbartonshire Champions Board was awarded funding of £224,167 for the period of November 2017 to October 2020
West Dunbartonshire had already established a Youth Forum for looked after and accommodated children, and the Champions Board aim is to engage with even more young people with care experience across the region.
The young people involved sit on the Champions Board and provide a key link for young people in care. They also draw on their own experiences of being in care to help reshape the future care system.
The Champions Board provides West Dunbartonshire young people with an informal forum to meet with the people responsible for their care, well-being and future life chances. It also gives them an opportunity to engage in a participatory decision-making process, so that they can have a say in local service design and delivery.
They are fully supported to engage with people who they may not normally meet, so that they can inform changes and improvements to policy and practice.
The formation of a Champions Board in West Dunbartonshire is supported by Who Cares? Scotland, Y Sort It, West College Scotland, All 4 Youth and West Dunbartonshire Community Planning Partnership.
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.