Children & Young People's Services Awards
18 March 2008
In association with
Beverley Hughes, Minister of state for children, young people and families, Department for Children, Schools and Families
Winners of 2007 awards unveiled
The winners of the second Children and Young Peoples Services Awards were announced on 22 November, at the Hurlingham Club in west London.
The ceremony showcased some of the finest practice and brought together the most inspiring practitioners from across the range of services aimed at the young.
Sponsored by the Childrens Workforce Development Council, the event celebrated the unsung heroes of the sector. Acknowledging achievement in categories that reflect the five Every Child Matters outcomes, from growing up healthy to staying safe.
Best corporate parent: London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s approach to supporting looked-after children and young people is all about aiming high.
With a motto of “nothing is impossible”, the council’s Looked After Children, Health and Education Service (LACHES) has worked hard to raise young people’s aspirations and meet their health, emotional and social needs.
Children and young peoples champion: Ena Fry, The Fostering Network
Ena Fry has worked tirelessly for the rights of children and young people in care for more than 30 years.
During her career, which includes 17 years at Camden social services and nine years at the Fostering Network, she has been a friend and supporter to many young people.
She has also fought to ensure the voices of those in care are heard by policymakers and service providers alike.
The being healthy award: R Project, SHOC
It’s fun, entertaining and unlike any sexual health film you have seen. Blue Movie – The Adventures of a Blueberry Condom is a world away from the dull facts of lifestyle films that many young people have yawned their way through.
The film was written and made by young people and is the centrepiece of the innovative R Project, designed to boost awareness of sexual health issues among young people in the NW10 area of Brent.
The stay safe award: R Project, SHOC
“Brilliant” – that is the word many of our young judges used to sum up the work of the R Project in Brent, and it’s why the sexual health initiative is a double award winner, scooping first prize in both the stay safe and being healthy categories.
The R Project was set up by SHOC (Sexual Health On Call), which runs a range of sexual health services in the London borough. The scheme has encouraged hundreds more young people to get tested for sexually transmitted infections by holding workshops in schools and youth settings and by creating a colourful animated film made by young people.
The integrated working award: Phoenix Pre-School Centre, Bromley
Too often families with disabled children have to traipse from one service to another and repeat their story to different professionals. That’s why the London Borough of Bromley has strived to take an integrated approach to services for children with disabilities.
The council has led the way with its Pre-school Specialist Support Services and Early Support scheme at the Phoenix Centre, working with a wide range of agencies.
Radical changes to the way services are delivered have been made, including appointing key workers for families and ensuring the support they get is co-ordinated via the Early Support Pre-school Panel
The play and social development award: Actionnaires, Action for Blind People
Kickboxing, swimming and climbing are just some of the sports enjoyed by blind and partially sighted children and young people thanks to the Actionnaires project.
The innovative scheme is run by the charity Action for Blind People, which has established a network of clubs for children and young people aged four to 16.
The clubs offer young participants the chance to try a variety of sports that may not have been open to them before.
The workforce development award: St Peters Youth
Faced with a shortage of youth workers in an area where they were much needed, St Peter’s Youth (SPY) decided to grow its own.
The organisation, which works to improve the lives of young people in the Ashton regeneration area in Greater Manchester, impressed judges with its Pool of Workers project. The scheme sprang out of research that identified a shortage of voluntary and community organisations supporting young people in the area.
High levels of youth unemployment had also led to increased antisocial behaviour and poor community cohesion. By developing its own pool of workers, SPY has helped address these problems and changed the lives of many.
The Justice Award: The Academy, Dance United
Can dance really help turn around the lives of young offenders? That was the reaction of many in the youth justice sector to the idea that dance training can provide a real alternative to custody.
But scepticism often turns to astonishment when professionals meet young dancers who have been through The Academy programme.
The programme was developed by Dance United in partnership with Bradford Youth Offending Team and crime reduction charity Nacro. But it is not a soft option. The Academy offers an intensive and demanding training programme in a professional studio environment.
Participants work five days a week for 12 weeks with a team of dance artists and youth workers during which time they must demonstrate focus, commitment and patience.
Audiences, including criminal justice professionals, have been stunned by the quality of dance performances.
The youth work award: Unity Youth Project, Peterborough City Council
Peterborough City Council’s Unity Youth Project has helped young people resolve conflicts and build lasting friendships.
The project was set up in 2002 to tackle local racial tensions and has gone from strength to strength. Over the past year, it has worked with more than 120 young people aged 13 to 21 who have shaped the project and its aims, which include promoting understanding and respect between teenagers and young adults from different racial backgrounds.
The early years award: Early Talk, I CAN
Children who start school without basic language skills are at a major disadvantage. They cannot understand lessons and find it hard to make friends, which can lead to other problems. It is vital those with communication difficulties are spotted at a young age and given the right support.
This is the guiding principle of Early Talk, a ground-breaking programme developed by children’s communication charity I CAN.
The programme is run in partnership with local authorities and operates in day nurseries and other early years settings for children under five. It offers advice and support to early years workers and provides them with the skills to help develop children’s communication abilities.
The learning award: Ethnic Minority and Traveller Recruitment Service, County Durham
Durham County Council’s Traveller Achievement Team has championed the needs of numerous children and families. The team is part of the council’s wider Ethnic Minority and Traveller Recruitment Service.
Its role is to improve outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children and their families, who make up the largest minority ethnic group in the county.
The team works to ensure families can access the services they need, including education and health services. It has worked closely with schools, helping head teachers and staff to develop policies and action plans to boost achievement of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils and assess their progress
Extended school award: Romsey Community School
Last year, Romsey Community School scooped the Community School of the Year prize at the Children and Young People Services Awards and it has won again this year, although the category has now been rebranded to the Extended School Award.
The fact it is collecting this year’s prize is testament to the size, scope and success of its extended services programme. The school, which is based in Hampshire, reaches out to the whole community, offering everything from antenatal classes and toddler groups to sessions for silver surfers.
Best use of information systems: EEFO, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust
Websites can be a great way to communicate with and empower young people. That’s why the EEFO programme in Cornwall has put its web site at the centre of efforts to improve information for young people in the county.
The programme is jointly commissioned by Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust and Cornwall County Council. Its website, www.eefo.net, is aimed at 13- to 19-year-olds, signposting them to quality services and offering information about issues they face daily. It covers everything from drugs, sexuality and relationships to films and music.
The active citizens award: Girls United, The Children’s Society’s Children’s Voice Project
Earlier this year members of Girls United filmed female police officers from Tower Hamlets at work. The project took them to a helicopter base, police stables and to the Thames to film officers on speedboats.
This is just one of the innovative schemes the group of Somali and Bangladeshi girls have been involved in over the past year. And it is this type of work that has made the project stand out.
The positive images award: Sunderland Young Achievers’ Awards
Sunderland Young Achievers’ Awards recognise the achievements of young people aged 11 to 20 and the valuable contribution they make to the city. But they are not simply about rewarding young people who are “the best” at something. The awards, which cover a wide range of categories, look at where young people have started from and how far they have come.
Since being established by Sunderland City Council 14 years ago, they have gone from strength to strength and this year there were 216 nominations for groups and individuals.
Council of the year: Ealing Council
From its young person’s website to its service for children with disabilities, Ealing Council is committed to making the borough a great place in which children and young people can grow up.
Ealing is London’s third-largest borough and is a highly diverse area, with more than 70 per cent of schoolchildren from black and minority ethnic communities. Our judges were impressed with the council’s joined-up approach to creating better services for children and young people.
The wellbeing award: beat
Eating disorder charity beat has undergone a complete makeover in its efforts to reach young people. So much so in fact, that it even changed its name from the Eating Disorders Association because it found this to be too medical and stuffy and deterred young people from seeking help.
Eating disorders affect 1.1 million people in the UK and while sufferers can be any age, the majority are adolescent girls and young women.
Beat has tried hard to improve the way it communicates with young people and provides support. Its young people’s forum – a group of 100 young people – informs everything the charity does. Members communicate with the charity by post, email and online chat and have played a key role in campaigning for better services.
The advice and guidance award: DECCA
DECCA (Drug Education, Counselling and Confidential Advice) delivers drug education and treatment to young people under 19 in Sandwell in the West Midlands.
It produces a range of innovative resources to help young people get factual information about drugs, alcohol and smoking. These include websites, an email and text service, wristbands and leaflets in different languages.
The housing award: Rainer West Sussex Supported Accommodation Service
Rainer’s West Sussex Supported Accommodation Service is helping young ex-offenders turn their lives around. The pioneering project is designed to fill a major gap in accommodation for young adults coming out of custody.
The first few weeks after a young person leaves prison are a crucial time. Research shows that if services fail to intervene at this time the likelihood of those offenders committing further crimes increases dramatically.
Ex-offenders aged 18 to 25 are referred to the accommodation service by probation and have the chance to make a fresh start in one of 11 self-contained, single-occupancy flats.
Staff provide a range of support, including helping young residents improve basic skills such as literacy and budgeting, develop their parenting skills and move into education and employment.
The preventative work award: Teens and Toddlers, COUI UK
Teens and Toddlers takes a practical approach to tackling teenage pregnancy by giving young women and men real-life experience of caring for a child.
The programme, which is based on an American model, is run by non-profit foundation Children, Our Ultimate Investment (COUI UK). It identifies teenagers most at risk of becoming pregnant and gives them work experience in nurseries.
Participants attempt to build a relationship with one child and are given training and counselling to help them gain a better understanding of the huge responsibility in having children.
Voluntary and community sector engagement award: Bedfordshire Community Childminding Scheme
Childminders are helping cut the number of children being taken into care in Bedfordshire under an innovative partnership project.
The Bedfordshire Community Childminding Scheme is run by the charity National Childminding Association (NCMA) and commissioned by Bedfordshire County Council.
The scheme sees childminders providing respite care for families and foster carers, which can mean caring for a child for a few hours or a longer period of time. It is a service that can make all the difference to families going through difficult times and brings together a range of professionals.
It gives families time and space to sort out problems before they get worse or have a much-needed break from the responsibilities of caring for a child with a disability or other complex needs. This extra support means fewer families reach the point where the only alternative is children going into residential care.
The anti-bullying award: ARK, Kirklees Racial Equality Council
Dance, music, drama and poetry are just some of the creative weapons Anti-Racism Kirklees (ARK) uses to tackle racial harassment and bullying. The project, which is managed by Kirklees Racial Equality Council, works with young people in schools, youth centres and through detached youth work.
Crucially, it does not take a “zero-tolerance” approach to racism. ARK’s philosophy is that young people need to be able to express their views freely if racist opinions are to be challenged effectively.
The children and young peoples services team of the year: Life & Deaf, Greenwich Teaching Primary Care Trust
Life & Deaf is a great example of how committed professionals can make a huge and lasting difference to children and young people’s lives. It saw a group of profoundly deaf children and young people aged six to 19 embark on a poetry project, which culminated in the publication of a book and a DVD of poetry performed in British Sign Language.
The project was led by specialist speech and language therapists Jane Thomas and Katie Martin from Greenwich Teaching Primary Care Trust. They worked closely with many other professionals in education, health, social care and creative fields across the public and private sector.
Children and young people were involved at every stage of the project, which aimed to see deafness through their eyes.
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