A special awards event has been held to celebrate the amazing achievements of children in care in Buckinghamshire.
More than 70 of Buckinghamshire’s children in care and care leavers attended the annual event which is now in its eighth year.
Buckinghamshire County Council hosted the event 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.
The audience at the event listened to speeches by two Buckinghamshire care leavers and one of Buckinghamshire’s foster carers. They then heard a special and inspiring talk from Ashley John-Baptiste, a BBC journalist, presenter and previous X Factor finalist. Ashley is also a care leaver and had a very powerful story and message for the children and young people in care.
Outside there was a host of different activities for the guests to take part in and be entertained by, including a DJ set from local young supporter Ethan, wandering entertainment by the Flying Seagull Project’s circus entertainers, inflatables and sports activities as well as Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue and Thames Valley Police vehicles.
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 at Buckinghamshire County Council, was one of the hosts of the event. He said: ‘Today was inspiring and humbling, and I am grateful to have been at the event. Our children and young people in care have achieved so much, despite having had some very challenging and difficult times to overcome.
I am incredibly proud of every one of our children in care and it was fantastic to be able to celebrate their achievements with them. I hope they all remember Ashley’s message to ‘dream big and think big’!‘
Tolis Vouyioukas, Executive Director of Children’s Services at Buckinghamshire County Council, co-hosted the event with Warren. He said: ‘Today has been an inspirational day for all of us. We can never do enough to celebrate the remarkable achievements of our children and young people in care and care leavers; they all deserve this recognition and we are very proud of them.
We are very grateful to Gary Grant of The Entertainer toyshop who donated a gift voucher for every child and young person as well as funding to provide 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 say a very big thank you to our foster carers and social work staff who provide the much-needed support our children and young people need at this point in their lives.‘