Youngsters are honoured in a glittering awards ceremony

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Young guests enjoyed a dazzling time at this year’s Central Bedfordshire Looked-After Children and Care Leavers Achievement Awards.

More than 110 young people walked up the red carpet at the Oscars-themed event held at the council’s Priory House headquarters on October 21.

Staff and youngsters dressed up in their finest and managers from the corporate parenting service getting into the spirit and serving drinks to guests on arrival.

The awards evening is organised by members of the Children in Care Council and CiCC Ambassadors, who chose the food, entertainment and venue decorations and are consulted on the actual agenda for the evening.

Thanks to a host of generous donations, sponsorship and people pledging their time and talents for free the young guests were able to enjoy entertainment including local petting pony Pearl, top-of-the-range custom car “The Crazy Green Machine”, a classic car and a glitter tattooist.

All the attendees were acknowledged for achievements significant to them. So, that could include anything from educational achievements to developing independence skills. Foster carers, residential units, social workers, and designated looked-after children’s teachers are encouraged to nominate youngsters for any achievement.

There were a number of outstanding achievement awards which were sponsored by the University Of Bedfordshire Access Partnership Team. The Virtual School also presented awards to outstanding educational achievements and Young People of the Year Awards.

Among the winners were Kayleigh Stewart and Louise Harker.

Louise was awarded Young Person of the Year for showing great resilience and maturity whilst moving away from home. The audience heard how she has contributed positively to her new home by engaging in activities and with her peers and made great progress during what has been a challenging year personally.

Kayleigh was rewarded for facing challenges with determination and never giving up, making significant improvements to her independence and budgeting skills and developing new skills in the leaving care hub.

Councillor Carole Hegley, Executive Member for Social Care and Housing and lead member for Children’s Services, said: “What a brilliant evening. It was great to see so many young people there and to see them being rewarded for their achievements.

“I would like to thank everyone who gave up their time for the evening and also made a donation to the event which paid for the visit of pony Pearl from Bedfordshire Party Ponies, in Clophill. She was a real hit with the children – and even had a blue and pink rinse for the occasion.”

Natasha Rowe, CiCC Ambassador, who sang at the event, said: “It was lovely to see all the young people dressed up and celebrating their achievements with their CBC family.

“Just seeing all the young people happy, dancing and being celebrated was great and I was proud to be part of that happiness.”

Fellow CiCC Ambassador Emily Smith added: “It was an amazing evening – everyone looked stunning and the atmosphere was great. It’s so lovely watching young people getting appreciated and receiving an award.”