Billie-Leigh and Luke provided an update on Care Day which is an annual event to celebrate and raise the profile of children and young people looked after. This next event will take place on 18 February 2023 and it will provide the opportunity for Members and young people to get to know each other in a fun, positive environment. Planning for the event is in progress, which will include workshops, an ideas zone and relaxed areas in which to discuss achievements and improvements. Further details of the event would be circulated to the Panel in due course.
Billie-Leigh then spoke about another up-coming annual event, the Care Leaver’s Challenge, which challenges participants to live life in the footsteps of a care leaver by managing on a budget of approximately £66 per week, to understand the difficulties faced by those living on Universal Credit. Many Members and officers within the Children and Young People’s Service had risen to the challenge in previous years and Billie-Leigh and Luke spoke about how the young people of the Children in Care Council would like to see the Council’s senior leadership team and personnel from corporate departments becoming involved in this year’s challenge. Plans include inviting participants to Care Day, to reflect on their experiences.
The Practice Lead for Children and Young People spoke of her experience of the challenge saying she found it a difficult but worthwhile experience and she commented that young adults in the general population may find the challenge enlightening. Luke agreed and pointed out that the limited budget teaches young people the importance of making sensible financial choices. The Panel commented on how powerful the message is when the request to participate is delivered by the young people themselves and added that when Members and officers are participating in the challenge and finding that making financial choices is difficult, they should bear in mind that, in most cases they will already have their home comforts in place and care leavers, who are just starting their homemaking journey, will face an even greater challenge.