A parents and carers’ forum that won our Children’s Champion award hopes to have its own champion soon – Councillor Tim Cheetham.
The forum supports Barnsley families who have a child with additional needs or a disability. It campaigns to change the way children’s services are run in the town.
Since our awards in November, it hired out the Lamproom Theatre so children could enjoy a pantomime, has got involved in a speech and language therapy programme, and is meeting with Coun Tim Cheetham, Barnsley Council’s spokesman for children, young people and families, to discuss him becoming a forum ‘champion.’
Volunteers Rachel Corrall-Jackson and Donna Elliott, who represented the forum at last year’s awards ceremony, regularly meet with the council to fight for improvements for children, parents or carers.
The forum also arranges social events and activities, such as a film club, so parents and children never feel isolated.
“We have been through the system with our children a long time ago and found the gaps in provision and we now focus on helping new families and making sure it is a different story for them,” said 34-year-old Rachel. “If we have avoided another parent having to go through the pitfalls we experienced, then it is worth it.”
“The good news is our funding is secure for the next couple of years and there will be a duty on the local authority to consult and engage with us,” said Donna, 35.
This award will go to an individual who has inspired children and young people to be better than their best. They will have provided support when it was most needed and helped them to achieve and to overcome barriers.
The following points are intended as guidelines only, to help you with your nomination.
- What does this person do or say that inspires you?
- How has this person helped you to achieve your goals and overcome barriers you had?
- Tell us how this person is a great advocate for young people and dispels the bad myths about your age group?
- What sort of extra things does this person organise or help you to do? How do they go the extra mile?
- Has this person done something really special to help you or someone you know?
This person could be a youth worker, health worker, teacher, teaching assistant, school nurse, social worker, relative or family friend.
John Laing Integrated Serviceswww.laing.com
For over 160 years John Laing has shaped public sector services and assets, working with local communities in their delivery.
In Barnsley, John Laing provides a broad range of facilities management and support services to the borough’s new Advanced Learning Centres that form part of the Building Schools for the Future Project.
These facilities are not merely schools, but rather the future of learning excellence where children and adults can learn and where communities can come together for a common purpose.
Stuart Locking, contract manager at John Laing, said: “As one of the boroughs’ leading employers we are committed to investing in the local community in a way that makes a real difference to peoples’ lives.
“John Laing is a partner in the Barnsley Local Education Partnership and are committed to developing opportunities for young people in Barnsley, either through apprenticeships, work placements and/or mentoring activities. For us the Children’s Champion category is particularly important as this award celebrates those people and organisations who have demonstrated, through their work, their ability to deliver real improvements to the quality of life for young people.
“We hope to see a winner who truly inspires young people and can demonstrate how they have been instrumental in assisting a young person or group of young people achieve their goals.
“The winner of the Children’s Champion award will be someone who really believes in young people and the contribution they make to successful communities.
“Celebrating the accomplishments of those who contribute to supporting young people in this way is vital.”