Children and young people looked after by Brighter Futures for Children in Reading have been awarded first place in the prestigious A National Voice Awards 2023.

Care2Listen – the name chosen locally for Reading’s children in care council – is a group of young people in care aged 12 to 17 years old. The group was shortlisted alongside 14 other children in care councils and, on 25 October, won first place for the participation award.

The award acknowledges the hard work the group has put in to establish an open, safe space for children and young people to be able to share and provide their views and work on projects that interest them.

The group has developed resources to ensure the workforce at Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) is child-focused, promotes participation for all Reading children and young people in care, and that they consider how their own practice can impact the lives of others.

A key piece of work completed by Care2Listen was to help update BFfC’s promise to children and young people in care and the group is now helping to plan and run two celebration events for all children and young people in care.

The group is organised by Brighter Future for Children’s Participation Officer, Emma Cheek, who was so impressed by their achievements, she entered Care2listen for the award. Emma also runs groups for care ambassadors and a social group for all children and young people in care, called Care2HaveFun.

The judges were impressed by Care2Listen’s attendance at meetings with both BFfC and Reading Borough Council and how the young people share their experiences and ideas on how things can be improved.

A National Voice Award is designed to recognise the work of children in care councils and care leaver forums. Groups are nominated across a range of categories, before Coram Voice and A National Voice shortlist and judge the entries.

Di Smith, Brighter Futures for Children’s Board Chair said:

“We are absolutely delighted to see Care2Listen’s incredible work recognised on the national stage.

“Our amazing group of young people really want to make a difference and this is clear to see in all the hard work they have put in.

“I have no doubt they will continue to impress and make a significant difference for many children and young people in care.”


A National Voice Awards 2023 – Coram Voice