Young People's Zone

More about our Voices writing competition

Every day, Coram Voice works with children in care and care leavers. They inspire and motivate us with their resilience, their maturity but most of all with their extraordinary voices. These children and young people have exceptional creative talent not despite of, but because of, their experiences.

All too often, the stories that make the news about children in care are negative. Being in care is a label that carries a heavy stigma that we want to change.

Creating positive images of children from care

Our Voices competition is a platform for the voices of children in and around the care system. It promotes a positive image by showcasing young people’s creativity and improving understanding of their experiences. The theme for 2019 was 'Growing up'.

The national writing competition was launched in 2016 to mark Coram Voice’s 40th anniversary and in honour of our founder, Gwen James, who died in 2015. 

The Voices 2019 winners were announced at an awards ceremony at Havas in London ceremony hosted by actor and former Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi.

Understanding care experienced children and young people

Research conducted with previous Voices shortlisted entrants found that participation in the competition had inspired them to write more, allowed them to be recognised for their talents and for some, helped them to come to terms with being in care.* One young writer said: “The competition is a safe opportunity to share your personal story – it’s a wonderful way to embrace your history and yourself”, while another added “to put what you feel on a piece of paper is quite therapeutic.”

By hearing, and more importantly listening, to the voices of young, care-experienced, people, we hope to better understand them and help make their lives better. 

As part of this, our report Understanding why young people participate in the Voices competition details the findings of interviews carried out with competition entrants.

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