19 February 2016
Five charities representing children in care and care leavers are joining together to connect and support these young people to shape policy and effect change across the UK and Ireland. As part of the 5 Nations, 1 Voice alliance launch, Friday 19 February 2016 has been named #CareDay, with activities planned across the nations.
Supported by a £499,745 grant from the Big Lottery Fund, 5 Nations 1 Voice brings together Who Cares? Scotland, The Who Cares? Trust (England), Voices from Care (Wales), VOYPIC (Northern Ireland) and EPIC (Ireland). Each organisation is uniquely positioned in their own nation, and they share a common purpose: to represent the views or promote the voices of care-experienced young people to improve their experiences and outcomes.
5 Nations 1 Voice will build connections among care-experienced young people across the UK and Ireland. These young people experience similar challenges whether they grow up in Aberdeen or Aberystwyth, Belfast or Bath, County Cork or the Cairngorms. 5 Nations 1 Voice will create opportunities for young people in care and care leavers to build supportive networks with their peers, both face to face and online. The alliance hopes to build confidence and resilience among young care-experienced people, particularly about their identity.
5 Nations 1 Voice will advocate for increased protection for care-experienced people in law and ensure that they are integral to shaping policy that affects them. This could include measures that introduce more stability and security into their lives. Each organisation has experience of effecting change in their own nations; through this project, they will work collaboratively on nationwide awareness-raising activity.
The alliance is launching with #CareDay on Friday 19 February, a day to celebrate the achievements of children in care and care leavers and share our dreams for a world in which their life chances are equal to those of their peers.
#CareDay is being marked in England with a big conversation on care; care-experienced people, social care professionals, foster carers, policymakers, parliamentarians and opinion formers are being encouraged to share their dreams for care with a Tweet that starts ‘My dream for the care system is…’. Other #CareDay activities include care-experienced young people taking part in a huge balloon release in Cardiff, a ‘Care Factor’ karaoke party at Belfast City Hall, political hustings in Edinburgh and a celebratory event showcasing care-experienced young people’s talents at the Ombudsman for Children’s Office in Dublin.
Chief Executive of The Who Cares? Trust, Natasha Finlayson, said:
“5 Nations 1 Voice provides a real opportunity to set the agenda on improving outcomes for children and young people in care: only by listening to their views and understanding their experiences can policymakers fully understand what needs to change. The five organisations in this alliance have been representing the voices of young people from a care background for decades. Standing together alongside young people, we will amplify their voices across nations, raising their confidence and staking their claim to better support, better protection and better outcomes.”