Voices, Coram Voice’s national writing competition for children in care and young care leavers has returned for the third year running. Entries can be submitted online at coramvoice.org.uk/voices18 until 8 February 2018.
Coram Voice, part of the Coram Group of charities, provides a range of services for children and young people in and around the care system. It first launched its Voices competition in 2016 as a platform for care-experienced young people to express their creative talents and to celebrate their voices.
Research conducted with previous Voices shortlisted entrants found that participation in the competition had inspired them to write more, allowed them to be recognised for their talents and for some, even helped them to come to terms with being in care.*
The theme of this year’s competition is ‘Who or What Makes You Proud’ and entries can be submitted online on the Coram Voice website in any written form including poems, short stories, raps and newspaper articles with a 500 word limit. The competition is grouped in four age categories: primary school, lower secondary school (age 11-14), upper secondary school (age 15-18) and care leavers.
The entries for Voices 2018 will be judged by a panel of experts, each with personal experience of, or a special interest in the care system including authors Jenny Molloy, Lisa Cherry and Lola Jaye, poets Dreadlockalien and Mr Gee, Channel 4 presenter Jackie Long, BBC producer Ashley John-Baptiste and singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan.
The winner of each category will receive a tablet** and £100 shopping vouchers, and will be announced by the judges at an awards ceremony in London on 9 April 2018.
One of the judges, Lola Jaye commented: “I know that storytelling is one of the most powerful ways we can understand each other’s unique experiences. That’s why I am so pleased to judge Voices 2018, a competition that amplifies the voices of young people in the care system and gives them a platform to tell the world their stories. I can’t wait to read what they produce and celebrate their achievements.”
One young person who previously entered Voices said: “The competition is a safe opportunity to share your personal story – it’s a wonderful way to embrace your history and yourself” and another added “to put what you feel on a piece of paper is quite therapeutic.”
Another previous entrant commented: “It can be the start of a journey… it opens up new opportunities and also shows people the potential you have.”
Voices 2018 is open for entries from 8 December 2017 to 8 February 2018. For more information about the competition and how to enter, please visit coramvoice.org.uk/voices18.
*Qualitative semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with eleven children and young people who were shortlisted in the Voices 2016 or Voices 2017 competitions to understand their experiences of the competition and how it may have impacted on their lives.
**The winner of each category will receive a tablet, kindly donated by Pearson Publishing, an educational publisher and software developer based in Cambridge (separate from and unrelated to Pearson Education and Pearson PLC)