A group of young people in care, some aged as young as 9, who give up their free time to advise the authorities on how they can better look after vulnerable young people have been shortlisted for police awards.

The group each volunteer up to 20 hours per week to advise local councils, NHS, police, charities and universities on how they can do more to support children in care.

 The youngsters, who are aged 9 – 21, all belong to the Coventry Voices of Care Council.

Many of them have had difficult starts to life, but they have all shown remarkable courage, dedication and commitment since joining the scheme.

The team help run lectures, act as consultants and provide an insight to professionals working in the care sector who need to gain a better understanding of the subject.

They are a vital link between people in care and those working in the sector.

Their achievements include helping local councils plan residential homes for children in care. As part of the project they scrutinised the building’s location, how it would be run and the furniture to go in it.

The volunteers also advise social workers on how to talk to vulnerable people in care.

Shianne Kinchen and Charlie Cooke are two of the volunteers.

Shianne said: “Voices of Care helps young people to understand their rights and gain a sense of belonging.  I believe the work we do is vital in making sure that services for young people are fit for purpose.”

Whilst Charlie added: “Being shortlisted for such an important award is brilliant. We hope more people will find out about the work we do and this will help reduce the stigma of being a kid in care.”

Meanwhile, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: “The work carried out by these young people in care is hugely valuable and truly heart-warming.

“Many of them are still young children and have had a tough start to life, but despite all they have been through they still give up so much of their time to help others. They are an inspiration to us all.

“I would like to say a huge thank you. Many lives would be so much worse off if these individuals stopped doing what they do”.

The Outstanding Citizens Awards will be held on 5th July.

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