A creative young care leaver who entered a festive competition to design a Christmas card was surprised with the news that she had won this week and presented with professionally designed prints of her card.
Sophie, 20, entered Wigan Council’s Christmas card competition, which was organised by the care leavers support team, as one of their weekly online activities for young people who have recently left care.
Cabinet Member, Councillor Jenny Bullen, who presented Sophie with Christmas gifts and her winning card, said:
“At this festive time of year, the care leavers support team would usually be running lots of events to help the young people and staff to keep in touch with each other and celebrate Christmas.
“These activities are really important as leaving home to live independently can be hard for every young person, but it can be especially difficult for young people who might not have the immediate support of a parent and this time of year can be particularly lonely for some.
“In previous years we’ve organised Christmas parties, an annual awards event, even a big Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, but the pandemic and associated restrictions have made that impossible this year, so we’ve had to think creatively.”
The care leavers support team have been running weekly online events and activities for 16-25-year olds throughout the lockdown period.
Karen Pilling works for the team. She said:
“The online activities have gone down really well.
“Cooking together has been particularly popular, with the young people getting more confident each week and sharing photos of the food they’ve made.
“The sessions give everyone the chance to connect, try something new and have conversations. It’s fun and informal but it also gives us a chance to check how everyone is and see if anyone might need some extra support.
“As we move towards Christmas, we’ve been giving the activities more of a festive theme, so the Christmas card design competition was our latest idea and we encouraged everyone to get involved.”
Sophie, from Hindley Green, was eventually declared the winner, with her innovative reindeer design, created from the painted footprint of her 1-year-old daughter, Bella-May.
“It felt good to win.
“It’s lovely to get the printed cards as they will always give me a nice memory of Bella-May at this age.
“All the family will like getting them.”
Young care leavers from Wigan Borough can join the weekly activities by searching for ‘Wigan care leavers closed group’ on Facebook.