Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A humbling and inspiring afternoon at the Epic awards

Like many other County Councils we hold regular quarterly meetings with our West Sussex MPs.


These meeting allow everyone the opportunity for a wide range of issues to be discussed and, not for the first time, one such discussion topic at this most recent meeting last Friday was the A27 and our plans for a campaign which will call on the government to fund and build a dual carriageway east to west. We had leading business representatives at this meeting as well and the support of businesses for any future campaign is vital. Watch this space! I shall be blogging with more details in the future.

The West Sussex Youth Network asked if they could attend Friday's meeting as they are very keen to talk to elected members and want their views listened to.

The group, a mix of age ranges and representation across the county, gave a terrific presentation which impressed everyone. And, as they so eloquently stated at the end of their presentation, they are the future.


We were all asked to make a written commitment about what we would do to work with the Youth Network in the future and they collected 22 commitments from around the table. I am looking forward to being shadowed for a day by some of the Youth Network members - and will be blogging about that too in the future.

On Sunday WSCC held the 3rd Exceptional People In Care (EPIC) awards.

This event was organised in consultation with our Children in Care Council, which is a group of young people in care across West Sussex and also includes care leavers. They meet every fortnight and are very heavily involved in shaping the services that are provided to them.

These young people have recently been involved in delivering training to foster carers and social workers so they can give their own perspective on care and their needs, which is so important for all those involved who are working to give these children a real helping hand.

Currently we have around 649 children who are looked after, about 73% attend Ofsted-rated Good or Outstanding schools, and I am pleased to say that educational standards in this group are improving.

Many of these children have had some very difficult starts in life and have had to learn to cope with issues which in some cases are hard to imagine. With the help of social workers and the dedication and commitment of our amazing foster parents, these youngsters have got their lives back on track and are doing well - despite the odds.

Learning about what these children have achieved, listening to the various stories, meeting and talking to some of these children was quite humbling and inspirational in equal parts and was one of the best Sunday afternoons since, well, last year's EPIC awards.

Both children in care and children who are not in care are all part of our future and from what I have seen and experienced in West Sussex the future is reassuring.

Best wishes
Louise


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