[O]n Saturday (21 October) 175 children, young people, foster carers, social workers, teachers and county councillors attended the fourth Cumbria Children in Care Council Awards, this year held at Carlisle Racecourse.
The Cumbria Children in Care Council is forum which brings together children in care in Cumbria to discuss issues and help shape the services they receive from the council. They dreamt up the awards as a way of celebrating the achievements of children in care, who have often had to overcome difficult issues in their lives, and the people who support them.
The event was the culmination of month’s work which saw 125 nominations across seven award categories. The awards ceremony was hosted by Matthew and Jamie-Lea from the Children in Care Council, with awards presented by Cumbria County Councillors Anne Burns and Sue Sanderson alongside Director of Children’s Services John Macilwraith and council Chief Executive Katherine Fairclough.
All of the categories were judged by the members of the Children in Care Council and the winners were:
- Educational Achievement Award (Primary) – withheld
- Educational Achievement Award (Secondary) – withheld
- Inspirational Worker Award – Susan Ayre
- Community/volunteering award – withheld
- Foster Carers of the Year Award – Chris and Heather Torkington
- Inspirational child or young person award (over 18) – Kerry Hammond
- Inspirational child or young person award (under 18) – withheld
Whitehaven’s Kerry Hammond, 18, was winner of the Inspirational Young Person of the Year Award. Judges picked Kerry because of her passion for the rights of children in care and care leavers and her tireless work to ensure young people have their voices heard. Kerry, who is hearing impaired, juggles all of this with going to college and also performing as part of a dance and theatre group, which recently performed in Disneyland Paris.
After receiving her award Kerry said: “Winning the award has made me really happy and very proud.”
Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Saturday was a fantastic day and a real success. The whole point is to put on an event that really celebrates these young people’s achievements, and from hearing about the nominations it’s clear that they are doing great things – whether that’s succeeding academically or playing a role in their communities.
“We also got to celebrate and recognise the huge contribution made by our foster carers and the professionals in our social work teams and schools – the work they do to support these children and young people is priceless.
“It was lovely to see the look on people’s faces when their names were called out and they stepped up to receive their awards. Each year these awards have grown and I have no doubt next year will be even bigger and better.”
For more information about fostering with Cumbria County Council visit www.cumbria.gov.uk/fostering