Summer celebration for Oldham’s best and brightest young stars

CHILDREN in care and care leavers from across Oldham were given special recognition at a special awards ceremony in Oldham.

The day of awards and celebrations, which took place at Mahdlo Youth Zone on Sunday, June 25,  also marked an important day for care-experienced children in Oldham, as the Council Leader and Cabinet Member formally signed a pledge to make care experience a protected characteristic in Oldham.

This pledge was first agreed by Council earlier this year, following a motion put forward by Oldham Youth Council. It means that the council now officially recognises that care-experienced people are a group who are likely to face discrimination, and that future decisions, services and policies made and adopted by the council will be assessed to determine the impact of changes on people with care experience, alongside those who formally share a protected characteristic such as age, disability, race and sex.

Cllr Shaihd Mushtaq and Cllr Arooj Shah at the event

The council has also formally pledged to continue seeking out and listening to the voices of care-experienced people when developing new policies.

This commitment was reiterated at yesterday’s event, with Oldham Council Leader Arooj Shah and Oldham Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People Shaid Mushtaq officially signing the pledge on behalf of the council.

Councillor Shah said: “I was delighted to attend this event to celebrate these amazing children and young people. Through the most difficult of circumstances, they are achieving incredible things in their lives, so it was fantastic to be able to say thank you for making Oldham proud.

“While I personally can never fully understand the challenges that they face, I will always do my very best to listen, to support and to put policies in place to ensure our decision-making as a council supports our most vulnerable young people.

“That’s why it was an easy decision to support the protected characteristic motion that the Youth and Children in Care Council brought to us. I’m proud that we worked together with them on this and that we are continuing to proactively seek out and listen to the voices of care-experienced people in all we do.”

In their motion to Full Council in March 2023, members of the Oldham Youth Council told councillors that care-experienced people face discrimination, stigma, and prejudice in their day to day lives.

At its worst, this can lead to care-experienced people being refused employment, failing to succeed in education or
facing unfair judgements. Designating care experience as a protected characteristic aims to ensure decision-makers have to consider the needs of care-experienced young people more seriously and have to consider how their decisions and policies affect people with care experience.

Sunday’s event for care-experienced children included an inflatable helter-skelter, carnival games, and much more – giving them the opportunity to enjoy a day of fun activities together.

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