The competition, which is now in its fifth year, will be open for entries from 12 December 2019 until 12 February 2020.
Coram Voice, a charity that ensures the voices of children and young people in and around the care system are heard, first launched the competition in 2016 as a platform for care-experienced young people to express their creative talents and to celebrate their voices.
The theme of this year’s competition, ‘Dreams’, was as always chosen by care experienced young people. Entries can be in any written form including poems, short stories, raps or newspaper articles, with a 500 word limit. There are four age categories: primary school, lower secondary school (age 11-14), upper secondary school (age 15-17) and care leavers (age 18-25).
Entries will be judged by a panel of authors, poets and presenters, due to be announced shortly, alongside young people who were finalists in last year’s competition.
Previous competition entrants said that participating had inspired them to write more, made them feel appreciated and valued for their talents and helped them to express their emotions about being in care.*
One finalist in last year’s competition said: “The benefits of the competition are that you get to write down your thoughts and feelings and people actually read it” whilst another added: “I wanted to express my feelings about being in foster care and get rid of the negative stigmas about being in care.”
Brigid Robinson, Managing Director of Coram Voice, said: “It has been fantastic to see the competition go from strength to strength and to read all of the remarkable entries we’ve received over the last five years.
“This year’s theme of ‘dreams’, chosen by young people, is guaranteed to see more creative and inspiring written pieces from care experienced young people, reminding us all of their talent and resilience. We hope their stories will continue to improve understanding around their experiences and celebrate their achievements”
Entries can be submitted online at coramvoice.org.uk/voices2020 between 12 December 2019 and 12 February 2020.
*Qualitative semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with eleven children and young people who were shortlisted in the Voices 2016 and Voices 2017 competitions to understand their experiences of the competition and how it may have impacted on their lives.