Young Wigan borough carers celebrate achievements at annual awards ceremony
Young care leavers in the Wigan borough have celebrated their achievements at an annual awards ceremony.
Wigan Council’s care leaver awards recognise those who have overcome often adverse circumstances to achieve stability and success.
The awards were presented by Coun Jenny Bullen, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Coin Susan Gambles, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare and the Mayor of Wigan Borough, Councillor Yvonne Klieve.
Councillor Bullen said: “It is always wonderful to attend the awards ceremony for care leavers as it’s an opportunity to hear so many positive stories about young people who, with some support but also through their own resilience and determination, have achieved many fantastic things.
“One of our aims for our children and young people in the borough is that we can help them to build ambition for their future and there has been no shortage of ambition at this awards event today.
“Congratulations to everyone who was nominated for an award. I’m very proud of all of you.”
The coveted Care Leaver of the Year was awarded to 19-year-old Leah from Wigan, in recognition of the progress she’s made towards overcoming her own emotional health issues, the stable life she’s built for herself and her young son, and the support she gives to her younger sister.
She said: “I had a hard background, but I overcame it and think I became a better person because of it.
“My message to younger people in care is that no matter how hard it is now, things do get better, and people are noticing your achievements.
“These awards are important because it’s exciting to see how far all of us have come on and they do make you feel appreciated.”
Awards were given out in 10 different categories, including Peer Role Model, Academic Achiever, Community Contribution.
There is also the Trish Hurlock Special Award, which recognises young people who have overcome adversity and is awarded in memory of a former member of the council’s care leavers’ support team, who died from cancer in 2016.
This year it was given to 22-year-old Candice, from Leigh, who had previously struggled with her confidence and anxiety issues, which had become worse during the lockdown period.
With the support of the Leaving Care Team, she took the decision to join the council’s Steps to Confidence programme, which is specially designed to support young care leavers.
Candice completed the course with 100% attendance and went on to gain new qualifications.
She said: “I hardly ever win anything, so this is exciting, a real privilege. I’m proud as it’s given me the reassurance that I’m doing something right. When you’ve had a difficult start in life you’ve got to keep striving, but I believe anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
To find out more about fostering click here.
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here and viewing our offers.