Date published: October 23, 2017
Awards Ceremony Celebrates the Success of Greater Manchester Care Leavers
On 17th October 2017, the Royal Northern College Music hosted the 5th Annual Greater Manchester Care Leaver Awards.
The awards recognised the amazing achievements of young people who have experience of the care system in Greater Manchester, as well as their supporting parents, carers, families and social workers. A care leaver is a young person who has been looked after by their local authority, in Foster or Residential care for 13 weeks since the age of 14, and can be “amongst the most vulnerable young people in society” according to Barnardo’s.
The awards, organised and sponsored by The Greater Manchester Looked after Children Forum and Greater Manchester Higher, are coordinated by The University of Salford, The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Bolton and The Care Leavers Association.
The awards ceremony seeks to recognise that many care leavers achieve success despite experiencing very difficult circumstances during their lives. Co-organiser Arron Pile from University of Salford, said: “We were delighted to see so many young people nominated across all categories; and it was wonderful to read the words of proud Foster Carers, Residential Workers, Social Workers and Key Workers – all recognising the achievements of their young people.”
It was a celebratory evening filled with performances and were honoured this year to have a keynote speech from Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester who spoke passionately about influencing change and creating the best circumstances for these young to succeed in their chosen path.
We were lucky enough to have our very own UoSalford students past and present as winners and performers during the awards. Kerri Starr, a past Social Work student won the ‘All Round Inspirational Person’ award for her wonderful contributions and dedication to the young people she works with. She said: “It was amazing to win something and now being in a position to give back to care leavers as a qualified social worker, as a person who believes in young people and help them achieve like the way my social worker did, I cannot emphasis on how thankful I am.”
We were also extremely proud for another of our current care leaver students to win the ‘Higher Education – Undergraduate’ Award, this student has achieved so much after going through such difficult experiences in his life, he is an exceptional student despite this and was thrilled to receive this award on the night.
Finally, Jordan Kalonji another of our UoSalford care leaver students spoke about his life experiences and how influential they have been on his journey to being a student and his successes as a recording artist. His truly inspiring words impacted so much on the audience and gave the encouraging message to the young people to believe in yourself and use your talents as they make you who you are. He went on to perform two songs showcasing his world class talent, his music set the tone for a truly inspiring and enjoyable evening.