The achievements of Somerset children and young people in care have been celebrated at the 2018 Annual Achievement Awards in Bridgwater and Taunton.
Around 350 children and teenagers were recognised for their efforts over two award ceremonies, through nominations from social and youth workers and other Children’s Services professionals.
The children and young people were commended for a range of achievements, spanning everything from displaying courage in the face of adversity to doing well in sport, arts, education and training or leisure activities.
Among those nominated were young people volunteering with the RSPCA, Riding for the Disabled, the Red Cross and St John Ambulance. Some undertook Prince’s Trust activities and one young person received their Gold Duke of Edinburgh award at a large prestigious presentation at Buckingham Palace.
One young person is a Squadron Air Cadet, recently participating in the RAF 100-year celebration Parade in Windsor. Another won a writing competition and attended a ceremony in London, where they were praised by authors commending their work. Many take part in fundraising activities. One young person participated in a 24 hour non-stop bounce at ‘Flip-Out’ in Wellington with their Church group, in order to raise money for an orphanage in Africa.
A collective award for ‘Helping Others’ was presented to the Somerset In Care and Leaving Care Councils. These are dedicated young people committing many hours of their time to projects helping others in care and supporting fostering and ‘Stepping Stones’ campaigns to find great carers in Somerset.
The awards events, held on Thursday 19 July at the Somerset County Cricket Ground in Taunton for the over 12s and Thursday 26 July at Canalside in Bridgwater for the under 12s, gave children and young people a chance to meet others sharing similar experiences. They featured everything from a Mocktail bar (staffed by older members of the Somerset In Care and Leaving Care Councils SICC and SLCC) to a motivational speaker: internationally acclaimed folk singer-songwriter Ange Hardy who was herself in care in Somerset.
Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council said: “I’d like to offer heartfelt congratulations to all the children and young people who were nominated in this year’s Annual Achievement Awards. It is so important to celebrate our children’s positivity and resilience in the face of great challenges. Thank you to our ‘Somerset In Care and Leaving Care Councils’, who did a fantastic job arranging it.”
You can make a real difference to a child life as a Foster Carer in Somerset. We are also urgently looking for ‘Stepping Stones Carers’ to offer a home and support to young care leavers who are making the move from being a young person in care to independent adulthood. This may suit those who are part-time, changing career or semi-retired.
Visit www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk, phone 0800 587 9900, ‘like’ the Fostering in Somerset Facebook page or follow @fostersomerset on Twitter.
Or come along to Fostering in Somerset’s next information event on Tuesday 14 August, 7pm to 9pm at Costa Coffee Bridgwater, BA20 1LE. Those who attend will get a free Costa coffee and cake.