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Care experienced young people honoured at 10th anniversary of Greater Manchester Care Leavers Awards

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Exceptional young people from across Greater Manchester have been celebrated at a special event marking a decade of the city-region’s Care Leavers Awards.

The 10th Greater Manchester Care Leavers Awards took place at the Royal Northern College of Music on 23 October, honouring the successes of care experienced young people from across the city-region.

Awards were given for achievements in further and higher education, apprenticeship training, activism and volunteering, and also for sporting and creative pursuits, while influential and inspirational young people were also recognised.

The event saw 251 nominations for awards, with all nominees taking home a goodie bag and winners receiving a £150 voucher and a MADLUG bag provided by MADLUG.

The Care Leavers Awards provides an opportunity to bring together care leavers from across all 10 local authorities and their supporters, to celebrate and recognise the wide range of achievements of care leavers from across Greater Manchester.

Councillor Mark Hunter, leader of Stockport Council and Children and Young People portfolio lead for Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said:

“It’s incredibly inspiring to see so many people come together from across Greater Manchester to acknowledge the achievements of care experienced young people. This annual event is vital to bring together young people with shared experiences into one room to celebrate each other’s achievements. It’s a message loud and clear to all children and young people in care across Greater Manchester that you can achieve whatever you set your heart on.”

The annual Care Leavers Awards are a collaborative effort organised by Greater Manchester universities and local authorities, with input from foster carers, social workers, and young people.

Peter Riley, Head of Widening Participation at Manchester Metropolitan University said:

“The Greater Manchester Care Leavers awards is a truly collaborative occasion, with universities, colleges, local authorities and third sector organisations from across the city-region coming together to celebrate the achievements of our care leavers. I never cease to be amazed at how our nominees have overcome many challenges to excel in their chosen field. They truly are an inspiration and it is wonderful to be able to celebrate with them at the awards.”

The night was hosted by two care experienced young people, Saeed Atcha MBE DL and Marcus Waite, who opened the event with inspiring words, sharing their own experiences and acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of the 300 attendees.

Guests were also treated to a range of entertainment including the ASH Company, Prinny Moni, and TIPP. The night also saw a performance from Trafford Youth Engagement Service with a monologue, rap, speech and song performed by a range of talented young people.

Saeed Atcha, Chief Executive of Youth Leads UK, who grew up in care in Bolton, said:

“This event is so important to recognise the efforts of care experienced young people. Young people who often just need a little bit of encouragement and support from society, because of the challenges they’ve gone through. Everyone here tonight is here out of respect for the young people that are being awarded. I think it’s amazing to come together as a Greater Manchester care experienced family to really celebrate the achievements of our young people.”

Phil Varghese, an organiser of the event added:

“The event really is a great accolade to all the young people nominated, but also when the go up on the stage they receive the acknowledgement that they fully deserve. From educational achievements to personal triumphs, it’s an opportunity for young people to showcase what can be achieved as care leavers and also what they want to do in the future, it can be inspirational for those who may not even have thought about the world of work.”

The award winners and commendations were:

  • Further Education (studying at level 3 or above): Bethany from Salford
  • Further Education (studying below level 3): Razan from Salford
  • Higher Education: Salha from Salford
  • The World of Work and Apprenticeships: Owen from Wigan (Winner), Reece from Stockport (Highly Commended)
  • Activism, Community and Volunteering: Robert from Tameside
  • Enrichment Activities (Sport, Leisure and Creativity): Sean from Wigan
  • Positive Action: Wiktoria from Bolton (Winner), Joseph from Trafford (Highly Commended)
  • Family: Ornela from Trafford
  • Key Influencer: Bernadette from Oldham
  • All Round Inspirational Person: Ahmadzay Safi from Salford (Winner), Alham from Oldham and Jaydey from Bolton (Highly Commended)

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