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“People say care kids amount to nothing, but I'm going to prove them wrong”

Georgia, a care leaver from Derbyshire, explains how Voices 2017, a creative writing competition for care experienced young people run by the charity Coram Voice, shows why voices like hers need to be heard

Georgia Voices 2017 care

In the UK today there are over 72,000 children and young people reliant on the state for their care and wellbeing, with 389,430 more needing some level of support – but their voices are rarely heard.  

Georgia, a care leaver from Derbyshire, entered Voices 2017, a creative writing competition for care experienced young people run by the charity Coram Voice. Her poem ‘A New Chapter’ impressed judges and was turned into an animation. She explains the benefits of sharing her story and why voices like hers should be heard and celebrated…

Since the age of nine I’ve loved to use writing as a form of expressing myself. Whether it’s writing in my journals or writing music and lyrics, I’ve always found it a good way to draw upon my personal experiences of the care system and tell my story.

Being in care is not always what people think, there are ups and downs, and living in foster and residential care isn’t easy. But the most difficult thing is the stigma that all children in care seem to battle with, people think we’re ‘bad’ and will amount to nothing.

It’s wrong, and I am trying to prove that. I’ve now started university and I’m really trying to do something positive with my life, rather than being drawn down a negative path that some people think is expected of us. I would love my writing to be able to influence other young people in care to do the same and help encourage them to turn their lives into a positive situation, so that one day they can look back on their experiences and see how far they’ve come.

That’s why the Voices competition is so important, as it allows us to use our unique experiences and turn them into something positive.

It was a brilliant feeling when I found out I was shortlisted in the competition. I was honestly so shocked as I’d never thought my poem would be good enough to be recognised. The awards ceremony itself was a great experience, not only meeting the host Peter Capaldi, but also all of the other young people and hearing their stories, it was truly inspiring.

Georgia care Voices 2017 Jackie Long
georgia-care-with-Jackie-Long
Georgia (right) is honoured by Jackie Long, social affairs editor at Channel 4, who was the judge of the care leavers category for 2017’s competition

I was also recently given the opportunity to have my poem brought to life as a video. I was so proud when I saw it, it felt amazing and I was so surprised to see how well it had turned out. The video is something I will cherish for the rest of my life, and one day show my children.

Entering the competition has helped me in so many ways. Not only has my self-confidence grown, I’ve been able to express my opinions to others more, it’s helped me find my voice again and most importantly to get it heard. The competition has inspired me to write more, and also inspired me not give up on the things I love to do.

If you are in care or a care leaver and have the opportunity to enter Voices next year, please do as it’s a great way to get your feelings across and be heard by others. You never know, your story or poem could help others in the same situation and may even inspire them to do the same.

If my story could help just one young person living in care today, I would feel truly blessed. 

The winners of Voices 2018 will announced on  April 9, find out more at coramvoice.org.uk/voices18

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