Buckinghamshire’s children in care enjoy a well-deserved celebration of their inspirational achievements
Over 70 of Buckinghamshire’s children in care and care leavers have had their achievements celebrated at a special awards event.
The County Council hosted the annual event, now in its ninth year, which recognises and celebrates the personal, academic and sporting achievements of the county’s looked-after children and young people leaving care.
The children and young people, ranging in age from tiny babies to young adults, were nominated by professionals working with them in a number of categories, including overcoming difficult circumstances, coping admirably with change and for achievements within education, training or sport.
At the event the audience listened to speeches by two Buckinghamshire care leavers and one of Buckinghamshire’s foster carers. One care leaver, now in her early twenties, explained how her difficult childhood had diminished her self-belief, making her think she was not good enough. However with the support of her foster parents and the team around her, she found herself in a more positive place, regained her confidence and has turned her life around. She achieved a 2:1 degree in Law and French from a London University and is planning her journey to becoming a qualified French teacher.
The key note speaker, Segun Fawole, had been in care since he was 6 years old. He talked about loving the opportunity to have a new family around him, people to love and support him. With his life settling around him, he took up dancing and singing but as he reached the age of 11, he stopped as his friends didn’t find it cool! Luckily, at the age of 15 another friend persuaded him to go with them to a class and he hasn’t looked back. He won a scholarship to a high profile performing arts college and thanks to the support of his foster parents, who were happy to let him follow his dream, he has since starred in the West End in Motown and Chorus Line, as well as supporting Cheryl Cole, Tinie Tempah and Peter Andre.
Outside there was a host of different activities for the guests to take part in, all based on an ‘around the world theme’. Additional fun was had on the bouncy castles, crazy golf and a penalty shoot-out for football lovers.
Each child and young person was presented with an individual certificate of achievement and a gift voucher which was kindly donated by The Entertainer toyshop.
Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, was one of the hosts of the event. He said:
“I am always humbled by the achievements of our children and young people in care and today’s event shows just how much can be achieved despite having to overcome some really challenging times.
“I find hearing about their achievements very inspiring and I am incredibly proud of every one of our children in care. It’s been a fabulous day celebrating with everyone. Segun left us with his favourite mantra “I am special and no matter where I am from or what I’ve been through, I can achieve my dreams.” I think that says it all.”
Tolis Vouyioukas, Executive Director of Children’s Services, co-hosted the event with Warren. He said: “Today was about recognising the amazing achievements of our children and young people in care and care leavers; a day full of celebration and inspiration.
“We are very proud of all of our children and young people in care and they deserve this recognition and the chance to come together and celebrate.
“For the second year running, we are very grateful to Gary Grant of The Entertainer toy shop who donated a gift voucher for every child and young person as well as providing sports and play activities; this was a very kind and generous gesture from a local company to support our local children and young people in care. I would also like to thank Telnik Roofing Limited for their generous support and all of our other sponsors, without whom this day would not be possible.
“Our foster carers, social work staff and We Do Care participation workers play such a big part in the lives of our children and young people in care and care leavers, I want to say a big thank you to them for the much needed support they provide at such difficult times in our children’s lives.”
The County Council holds the celebration event every year to recognise and celebrate achievement among the children in its care and its care leavers.
We are always looking for new foster carers to join our team of amazing people so if you have been inspired to find out more visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/fostering.