Coventry’s Voices of Care Council has scooped the Outstanding Young Citizens Award at the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner's Outstanding Citizens Awards.
The awards are in their 6th year and provide an opportunity to celebrate the untold stories of those who volunteer, campaign or take part in acts of extraordinary bravery.
Voice of Care are a group of young people in care, some aged as young as 9, who give up their free time to advise the authorities on how they can better look after vulnerable young people.
The group each volunteer up to 20 hours per week to advise local councils, NHS, police, charities and universities on how they can do more to support children in care.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "The work carried out by these young people in care is hugely valuable and truly heart-warming.
"Many of them are still young children and have had a tough start to life, but despite all they have been through they still give up so much of their time to help others. They are an inspiration to us all.”
The team help run lectures, act as consultants and provide an insight to professionals working in the care sector who need to gain a better understanding of the subject.
Their achievements include helping the Council plan residential homes for children in care. As part of the project they scrutinised the building's location, how it would be run and the furniture to go in it. The volunteers also advise social workers on how to talk to vulnerable people in care.
Cllr Pat Seaman, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “I’m so proud of Voice of Care for winning this award, it is very well deserved. I know how hard the team works to speak up for young people in care and the advice they give to organisations to help them look after children in care better is vital.”
Shianne Kinchen and Charlie Cooke are two of the volunteers.
Shianne said: "Voices of Care helps young people to understand their rights and gain a sense of belonging. I believe the work we do is vital in making sure that services for young people are fit for purpose."
Whilst Charlie added: "We hope more people will find out about the work we do and this will help reduce the stigma of being a kid in care."