In this video, Clare Holdsworth and Tanya Ward from the Children’s involvement team discuss this case study and its impact on children and young people in Sheffield.


In response to the Bright Spots survey findings Sheffield children in care voted on the issues they wanted to tackle. One of these was stigma. The virtual school supported & funded this work. Partnerships with professional authors and artists were developed to offer a range of opportunities to children in care and care leavers.


Sheffield children in care and care leavers have taken part in a lots of different creative workshops and sessions. They are really proud of what they have created and achieved. Some highlights include:

+ Wrote poetry book ‘The Can in Can’t’ – over 100 people attended the launch

+ Appeared on BBC Sheffield radio & in local news articles

+ Produced a podcast about their creative work


Young people have described how important the opportunities have been to them helping to increase their confidence, leading to friendships and fun. Children feel they have been able to speak their own truth about their experiences to diverse audiences of both other young people that were care experienced, Councillors, Senior Managers as well as other key players in the city such as the Head of Music Education, Museums and Galleries and Theatres.

+ Poems were printed on shops in the city centre

+ Dream Big event held at the Leadmill where over 30 young people shared their writing pieces reflecting on their care journeys, identities and ambitions – it was hosted by care experienced young people (and very well attended 220 people came!)

Young people taking part in the work wanted to challenge the stigma associated with care experience to inspire others to have high aspirations and follow their dreams.

After the success of the children in care creative writing sessions during lockdown the opportunity was expanded to include younger children & their foster carers. The ‘Can in Can’t’ book was highly commended at the Children & Young People Now awards in 2020.