London-based leading children’s rights organisation, Coram Voice has launched its seventh annual edition of Voices, the creative writing competition for children in care and young care leavers across the country.

The competition opened for entries from 6 December 2021 to 28 February 2022 in which children are encouraged to express their creative talents and build an understanding of their unique experiences. 

How a Children’s Charity is Making Young Voices Heard through Creative Writing
The Coram Voices 2019 awards ceremony was hosted by Scottish actor Peter Capaldi, pictured with  Voices 2019 winner Sophia Alexandra Hall © Sam Mellish 2019

Championing the rights of children in care and care leavers is at the core of the organisation’s aims. In the UK there are over 80,000 children and young people reliant on the state for their care and wellbeing. The charity prides itself in making sure children know their rights and helps them navigate the system, challenge decisions and make sure their rights and wellbeing are protected. 

Keeping in line with Coram Voice’s values, this year’s theme of the competition is ‘This is Me’ and 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 (5-10), lower secondary school (age 11-14), upper secondary school (age 15-17) and care leavers (age 18-25).  

Entries will be judged by an expert panel of authors and poets, some of whom are care experienced. 

Jessica, winner of the Voices 2021 Primary School category, said: “It was fun to take part in the competition. It was awesome to be a winner, I was overjoyed and jumped up and down and screamed “I’ve won!”  My foster caring family, my school, my social worker, and everyone are very proud of me. And now I’m really excited to be invited back as a young judge for 2022’s competition! I can’t wait to read the entries.” 

Interweaving creative writing and reflection has been particularly helpful for young people across the country during the course of the pandemic. As restrictions have eased, Coram Voice is planning to host an in-person awards ceremony in central London in Spring 2022, bringing together the finalists, judges and supporters to celebrate the achievements of all the children and young people who took part.

How a Children’s Charity is Making Young Voices Heard through Creative Writing

Carla, winner of the Care Leaver Category, said: “I didn’t know how much the competition meant to me until I received the date of the winner’s announcement. I entered the competition on a whim; I just wanted to share my poem in a space that people would understand. And they did. I really didn’t expect to win. I just wanted to pour my heart into a creative outlet and this competition gave me that. I was ecstatic to have won! I was screaming with excitement and an inspiration burned through me to write more and to express my soul through words.”

To enter this year’s competition, click here.

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Uzma Gulbahar holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University College of London. She is particularly interested in exploring untold stories surrounding marginalised groups, identity and culture.

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