Giving children in care a voice - Voices 2019 creative writing competition

Posted by iChild, January 30, 2019 5:11 PM

By Coram Voice

Voices 2019, Coram Voice’s annual creative writing competition for children in care and young care leavers is open for entries.

Voices Competition Poster - landscape-nofooter

Children in care often have to deal with very difficult life experiences including abuse, neglect and even the death of a parent. Added to this is the sense of loss and separation that many children feel, as well as the instability of multiple placements and rotating social workers. But studies have shown that giving children in care a voice and making them feel listened to can help can improve their emotional wellbeing.

The Voices competition is a national creative writing competition that aims to give a voice to children in care and young care leavers, providing a safe platform for them to express themselves. Writing about troubled experiences has been shown to have a therapeutic effect and can help children and young people process difficult emotions. One young person who entered Voices 2018 explained:

"(The competition) is a safe opportunity to share your personal story…it’s a wonderful way to embrace your history and yourself”.

At Coram Voice we are often blown away by the talent of the children who enter the competition. It takes real courage to open up and write about their feelings. Eleven-year-old Lewis was shortlisted as a runner up in last year’s competition; watch a brand new video animation of his heart-warming poem ‘I Am Proud Of…’


Care leaver Abbey was also shortlisted as a runner up for her raw and moving poem ‘Forced to Grow’ about how children in care often have to deal with serious life events long before they are emotionally ready. Watch the video animation of her poem here:


Last year’s competition was an incredible success and our awards ceremony was hosted by the actor Peter Capaldi. Two of our Voices 2018 runners up were also presented to the Queen and had the opportunity to read their pieces aloud in front of Her Majesty. It was a wonderful experience for these young writers, many of whom have continued with their own writing projects, including care leaver Louise, who writes an impressive blog!

This year’s theme is 'Growing Up', and children in care and care leavers are invited to write anything on this topic up to 500 words. This can be in any form from a rap, a short story, a poem, a song to even a speech. There are four age categories: primary school, lower secondary school (age 11-14), upper secondary school (age 15-18) and care leavers (age 19-25). We have been really impressed by the writing we have received so far, and we would like to encourage as many children in care and young care leavers as possible to enter the competition and showcase their creative talents.  

We also have an amazing panel of judges this year including the award-winning author/illustrator ‘Jarvis’ who’s book Alan’s Big Scary Teeth was selected by the BookTrust to be distributed to children across the country and Kiran Millwood-Hargrave, the Waterstones Children’s Book award-winner for 2017.

There will be an exciting awards ceremony in London for those who are shortlisted and some fantastic prizes to be won! First place in each category wins a £100 Love2Shop voucher, second place will win a £50 voucher, and third place will win a £25 voucher. Our wonderful author judges will also be donating their books as prizes.

So please share this competition, and help give children in care and young care leavers a voice. Visit for more info.

Enter Voices 2019 now:


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