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Awards celebrate creative talents of young people in care

ON MONDAY (April 9), Coram Voice announced the winners of Voices 2018, its national writing competition for care-experienced young people, at a ceremony held at the headquarters of its corporate partner Coutts and hosted for the second year running by actor and former Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi.

Coram Voice, which is part of the Coram group of charities, launched the competition in 2016 as a positive platform for children in care and young care leavers to share their stories and celebrate their talents.

Peter Capaldi said: “It was an honour to host the Voices awards ceremony again this year and meet the talented young writers. The entries provide a diverse and moving collection of stories, and I am immensely impressed by the writers’ ability to convey their emotions and experiences through the power of the written word.”

Twenty-three entrants were shortlisted in the competition across four categories: primary, lower secondary (ages 11-14), upper secondary (ages 15-18) and care leavers.

The competition judges included writers, authors, poets and journalists, with a special interest in, or personal experience of the care system. They praised the entrants on the powerful and creative ways they met the competition theme of ‘Who or What Makes You Proud’.

The Voices 2018 winners are:
Primary School Winner – To My Sister! by Aminah, aged 11
Author Lisa Cherry and poet Dreadlock Alien, judges of the Primary School category said: “This is a poem with meaning and purpose well beyond a competition. Good poetry says the most things with the fewest words and this poem does that. Great poetry prompts reactions from the listener or reader and this poem does that.”

Lower Secondary School Winner – Shout it Loud, it’s Time to Find Proud by Charlotte, aged 13
Authors Jenny Molloy and Lola Jaye said: “This piece comes from a very talent lyricist, and matches the theme beautifully whilst exploring it in such an interesting way. The reader feels more uplifted with each verse, so much so you can almost see the stars and sparkles leaping out of the page!”

Upper Secondary School Winner – Never Said Enough by Charde, aged 16
Judges Jackie Long, Social Affairs Editor for Channel 4 News and poet Mr Gee said: “From the first line we were hooked. A background story of real pain but ultimately the huge power of love and gratitude. The storytelling is superb – it is a wrenching, heartbreaking piece but the intensity of pride and love spoke to us with every line.”

Care Leavers Winner – Let Me Just Check That With Mike by Nathan, aged 20
Singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan and reporter Ashley John-Baptiste said: “The poem is written in a very clever way, and really spoke to us. The title of the poem used as the ‘punchline’ of the piece is what we loved most. The writer has great capability to project their experiences onto paper.”

Brigid Robinson, managing director at Coram Voice, said: “We are delighted with the fantastic response we’ve had to this year’s competition, receiving more than double the number of entries compared to last year. We want to thank all the children and young people for sharing their stories with us and embracing the theme in powerful and creative ways.”

More information about Voices 2018 and the winning entries can be found here. They are also currently on display to the public in the windows of Coutts headquarters on the Strand, London. The bank supported the Voices 2018 competition as part of its partnership with Coram, chosen as its current charity of the year.

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