Speaking up for children and young people in York and enabling them to speak for themselves has earned a team from City of York Council a highly commended place in a national awards ceremony.
Speak Up, York’s Children’s Rights and Advocacy Service, works with young people in care, care leavers, and children and young people who have been supported by Children’s Social Care.
The service was Highly Commended in the Biggest Impact category of the National Children and Young People Awards, at a ceremony in Birmingham this week.
The service was praised by judges for “the impact that they have on children and young people through their advocacy support”, and their “multi-faceted approach to getting their service users involved as advocates and role models themselves. The relationship building is key to their success and each person involved are keen to offer opportunities and support to children and young people.”
The team’s work can range from helping children and young people to understand processes, to helping them to participate in meetings, and sometimes involves helping them to raise concerns.
They are also responsible for Show Me That I Matter, City of York’s successful Children in Care Council. This well-established group gives young people in care the opportunity and skills to be able to raise issues and shape the way services are offered.
One user of the service said:
My advocate has stuck with me and helped me through every little thing. She has made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry and managed to make my days in care much brighter …. I will never forget the impact she has had on me.
Another user said: “I feel more confident in raising my worries and better at making decisions for myself instead of letting other people make them.”
Cllr Ian Cuthbertson, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said:
This is a great achievement which clearly demonstrates the outstanding work of our Council’s Speak Up team.
“The team members do an amazing job in advocating for young people and children, helping them find their way through sometimes complicated systems and processes.
“Many congratulations to everyone in the team for this well-deserved recognition of their hard work.”
The full list of all the awards can be found the CYPA Awards website.