Voices 2020 ceremony takes place online

Last night (Wednesday 15 July 2020), Coram Voice announced the winners of our Voices creative writing competition for children in care and young care leavers, now in its fifth year.

Due to lockdown restrictions, the awards ceremony, sponsored by UK management consultancy Cadence Innova, took place online for the first time and was hosted by award-winning Scottish actor and former Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi, a long-standing supporter of the competition.

Peter Capaldi said of hosting the event: “I was delighted to host the competition again this year, albeit in a different format than originally anticipated. The competition showcases the passion and talent of resilient young people whose written pieces inspire and help us to better understand the often challenging experiences that they have growing up.”

Nearly 1000 people tuned in to watch the awards on the Coram Voice YouTube channel, which alongside Peter Capaldi, featured members of this year’s judging panel including poet Mr Gee, children’s authors Lauren Child and Abi Elphinstone and rap artist Ric Flo, and featured some of the young writers reading their winning pieces.

This year’s competition saw its highest response to date, with over 300 entries on the theme of ‘Dreams’ submitted from across the country. Winners were announced across five different categories: primary (age 4-10), lower secondary (age 11-14), upper secondary (age 15-17) and care leavers (age 18-25), as well as an ‘Experiences of Covid-19’ category that was created by Coram Voice in July in response to issues faced by care-experienced young people during these unprecedented times.

Brigid Robinson, Managing Director of Coram Voice, said of the competition: “It has been a pleasure to see the competition grow over the past five years and to read the hundreds of remarkable stories, poems and raps that have been shared with us over that time. Thank you and well done to all the children and young people who have entered and made the competition what it is today – you should all be so proud.”

The event couldn’t take place without our fantastic supporters who sponsor the competition. Gita Singham-Willis, Founding Partner at Cadence Innova, the Headline Sponsor of Voices 2020, said: “We are delighted to sponsor this great event for a second year running. The Voices Awards champion children’s creativity and development and we are proud to be a part of this inspiring competition.”

The Voices 2020 winners are:

Winner of the Primary category, sponsored by Cadence Innova: ‘I See You’ by Ryan, age 10

Children’s authors Lauren Child and Piers Torday said: “We loved this poem, it has exactly that strange collision of random thoughts and images so often experienced in dreams. Most of all we were struck by the beautiful rhythm of the language.”

Winner of the Lower Secondary category: ‘Dreams Are For Everyone’ by Teoni, age 13

Author Abi Elphinstone and poet Mr Gee said: “This piece really tackles the theme of Dreams directly and succinctly. It takes the reader on a vivid journey with wonderful turns of phrases. We really felt a sense that the writer knew where they were taking us and layered the lines with an interesting mix that all offered hope.”

Winner of the Upper Secondary category, sponsored by Nick and Katie Searl: ‘Grandfather’ by Hazel, age 15

Author Christel Dee said: “The beautiful descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells really made me feel like I was there. I also found the twist at the end so heart-warming. I enjoyed this dream so much, I almost felt disappointed when it came to an end!”

Winner of the Care Leaver category, sponsored by Club Peloton: ‘My Dreams Saved Me’ by Leanne, age 24

Rap artist Ric Flo and author Paolo Hewitt said: “This is very relatable – the fusion of reality and dreams, was poignant. And we do indeed have to become ‘heroes of our own journey’ regardless of past circumstances.”

Winners of the ‘Experiences of Covid-19 category’:

  • Primary winner: ‘Home Sweet Home’ by Lexi, age 6
  • Lower secondary winner: ‘A Sparrow Told Me’ by Adam, age 13
  • Upper secondary winner: ‘The Year The World Stood Still’ by Tom, age 17
  • Care leaver winner and overall category winner: ‘Isolation in Reality’ by Saphron, age 21

The event will remain available to watch on the Coram Voice YouTube channel.

The shortlisted entries and the special category entries are available on our Voices webpage.