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Youth powered ‘Aspire To More’ campaign wins National Award

13-12-2016

A youth-powered project created to raise the aspirations of care experienced young people has been recognised with a National Award. The Aspire To More campaign won ‘Most Inspirational Youth Campaign’ at the National Kids Count UK Awards.

Members of the council, known as Show Me That I Matter (SMTIM) joined Inspired Youth to attend an awards ceremony on 21 November at the House of Commons alongside MPs, peers and other inspirational young people. The award was presented to SMTIM for outstanding contribution to youth issues via their innovative youth-powered campaign.

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The campaign, funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation was delivered by Inspired Youth in partnership with City of York Council’s Advocacy team and driven by young people. The creative project introduced children in care to inspirational role-model care leavers who they interviewed about their life journey before creating a campaign to share the inspiration with others online at https://aspiretomore.wordpress.com through a series of powerful articles, poems and posters.

The award is the second the project has gained in as many weeks and follows the success of a showcase of the project at the National Care Leavers conference in London and recognition at the National Care Leavers Bench Mark Forum at Chelsea Football Club.

Shelly, co-chair of SMTIM, said: “I’m amazed to see how much impact we have had nationally for children in care.”

“I’m amazed to see how much impact we have had nationally for children in care”

Lauren, SMTIM member supported this: “We were thrilled to be able to attend such an amazing award ceremony, filled with so many inspiring young people.”

“We were thrilled to be able to attend such an amazing award ceremony, filled with so many inspiring young people”

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Amy, co-chair of SMTIM said: “It was amazing, unreal and surreal to be at the Houses of Parliament. We achieved our aim of showing the world we are not a stereotype, that we can achieve our dreams.”

“It was amazing, unreal and surreal to be at the Houses of Parliament. We achieved our aim of showing the world we are not a stereotype, that we can achieve our dreams”

 

img_2645It was a proud moment for Inspired Youth to see the creative journey culminate in the young people taking to the stage and making their voices heard. Liam Powers, assistant director at Inspired Youth, said: “All the hard work these young people have put into the project is being recognised at a national level and sends the message to all care-experienced young people that they can achieve great success in life. Their dedication, persistence and drive have made this project so successful and goes to show the power of real stories. We are proud to have been part of their story and their journey.”

“Their dedication, persistence and drive have made this project so successful and goes to show the power of real stories. We are proud to have been part of their story and their journey”

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Jon Stonehouse, director of Children, Education and Communities at City of York Council, said: “This latest award is helping to spread the campaign’s message even more widely and shows that young people in care can aim high and can achieve great things. The recognition that SMTIM has earned for the Aspire to More project is richly deserved. Congratulations to them – I am very proud of our brilliant young people!”

“The recognition that SMTIM has earned for the Aspire to More project is richly deserved”

Kelly Mattison, one of the Care Leaver Role Models involved in the project said “Taking part in the aspire to more project has enabled me to change my narrative about my childhood from “It’s my  fault,” to “It’s not my fault.” I can see clearer now, the confusion has  gone. Before I read the other care leaver’s stories and wrote my own story for the project I often felt embarrassed and ashamed of who I was.  This project has taught me to give that shame back and the biggest thing that has happened for me through doing the project is that for the first time in my life I am beginning to build a relationship with my mum which is what I’ve  always wanted.”

Taking part in the aspire to more project has enabled me to change my narrative about my childhood from “It’s my  fault,” to “It’s not my fault.”

Author and former NME journalist Paolo Hewitt, another of the Role Models added “I was so proud to play a small part in the kids count award picked up by the wonder girls from York – Lauren, Shelly and Amy.”

“I was so proud to play a small part in the kids count award picked up by the wonder girls from York – Lauren, Shelly and Amy.”

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The project continues to grow as new role models make contact to share their own stories. Anyone who is a care leaver and would like to share their story please contact showmethatimatter@york.gov.uk