|Awards event highlights the achievements of Wigan Borough's young people
Harold Taylor-Barlow wins the Olaf the Snowman Award pictured with award presenters Wesley Partington and Tom Drake from Wigan Athletic Community Trust
Hundreds of children, young people and carers from all over the borough came together at the DW Stadium to celebrate a year of caring at Wigan’s Winter Wonderland Awards.
The Children in Care Awards is an annual event which recognises the achievements and dedication of children and young people living in care and their carers.
Organised by the Voices For Choices youth council for young people in care, this year’s ceremony took Disney’s smash-hit animated musical Frozen as its theme.
Wigan became winter wonderland ‘Arendelle’ for the evening as children, young people, carers and special guests all got into the spirit by dressing up as Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven.
The awards are supported by Wigan Council and saw a total of nine awards up for grabs for both children and adults alike.
These include the Princess Anna Award, The Snow Queen Award, The Kristoff Award and even The Grand Pabbie (or Father Troll) Award! The individual awards were given for a range of achievements including working hard at school, volunteering in the local community, helping others and having a positive attitude. The Awards were sponsored by various organisations including Wigan Council, Wigan Athletic Community Trust, the Safeguarding Board and Pathways to Progress.
A specially selected panel of judges from the council had the unenviable task of sifting through hundreds of nominations to try and whittle it down to nine prizewinners.
Judge and guest speaker Cllr Joanne Platt, who is the council’s cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services, said: “What an absolutely fantastic evening! All the award winners really deserve their accolades, in fact everyone who took part in the ceremony is a winner. The winners have shown extraordinary dedication to their families, friends and to the communities they live in through individual acts of kindness, caring for others and giving up their own time to make life better for other people. They are a shining example of the attitude we would like everyone in the borough to adopt and we can be rightly proud of all of them.”
Cllr Platt used the occasion to announce the council’s plans to develop a new Deal for Children and Young People, which will include inviting children and young people to get more involved in their communities and share their views with the council.
Cllr Platt said: “The views and opinions of young people are really important to us and we want them to have a greater say in what happens in our borough. We want them to play their part by getting involved in their local community and making a contribution, just like our award winners.”
Guests at the event also enjoyed some top class entertainment from talented young people from Wigan Youth Zone. Owen Bolton serenaded everyone with his acoustic version of the film’s smash hit song Let It Go and there was a special Frozen inspired dance.
Award winner Harold Taylor-Barlow, nine, who is a member of the Voices for Choices youth council, said:
'It felt brilliant tonight. My favourite bit was getting the prize but I also liked seeing lots of people I know and meeting up with everybody. My Award was for helping other people as I've been helping with pensioners' gardens and planting flowers.'
While Wigan’s Youth Parliament Representative Alice Woodcock, who presented one of the awards, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many young people do amazing things and being recognised for them. It once again shows that young people in Wigan do get involved and care about the community. I think it’s great that the council puts on these awards and celebrates our success. It shows that Wigan is a great place for children.”