Young people are making their voices heard loud and clear as they support Oldham Council in becoming the best corporate parent it can be.
Earlier this month, all of the borough’s looked after children were honoured at the local authority’s annual Stars In Our Eyes event at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in Oldham.
Hosted by local care leavers, Sam Coupe and Paige Tildsley, the Oscar-themed celebration was one way of recognising and rewarding their personal, academic and sporting achievements.
Sam and Paige, Children in Care Council (CICC) members have also been integral with other young people in shaping how the local authority can better fulfil its corporate parenting responsibilities for our most vulnerable children.
During National Care Leavers Week (24-31 October), the CICC led a fascinating and insightful Corporate Parenting Away Day with the council, the Local Government Association and partners to ensure they are at the forefront of the panel’s decision making.
On Monday, 22 October, Oldham care leaver Aisha Mehreen also gave a passionate and rousing speech in front of hundreds of residents and health and social care professionals at the official launch of Oldham Cares at the Locality Devolution Difference Conference, held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Aisha, aged 18, spoke about her experience in care and also outlined to the audience the CICC’s top ten actionable tips, adding: “It’s the little things that professionals do that make the biggest difference.”
Paige, who won the Greater Manchester Care Leaver Activism Award earlier this month, said: “Young people deserve to be heard and I love being around the table providing my voice and opinions across a number of topics within the council and making sure my voice is heard and acted upon.”
Sam added: “Young people are the future – their voices are as important as anyone.
“Their views and opinions are in the best interests for the future of our borough.”
During National Care Leavers Week, young care leaver, Daniel, also shadowed the Mayor of Oldham for a day to learn more about his civic duties. Staff also held awareness days and cake sales.
Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet Member for Children Services at Oldham Council said: “Supporting care leavers is a key priority for the council. We want our young people to have the best possible chance to succeed and we need to be the best corporate parent we can be.
“This is especially important when it comes to young people in care who often have a very difficult start to their lives.
“It’s vital that we provide avenues for young people in care and care leavers to have a voice in shaping and improving our services as well as providing the support they need whilst in care and as they make a successful transition into adulthood to lead fulfilling and happy lives.”
Our care leaver service supports those aged up to 25.
For more information visit www.oldham.gov.uk/careleavers or you can call our After Care Team on 0161 770 1191.
We would like to also hear from any child or young people up to the age of 18 (up to 25 if you’re a care leaver) who live in Oldham about how their thoughts as to how the council can better incorporate their voice across its services. Please take some time to fill out a short survey at www.oldham.gov.uk/hearmyvoice