Homes and Horizons colleagues from Somerset Council, Shaw Trust and the NHS in Somerset are celebrating after winning a prestigious Municipal Journal (MJ) Award for a partnership project delivering children’s homes across Somerset.
The MJ awards is the biggest annual awards ceremony for local government and announced winners at a live ceremony in London on 23 June 2023. Somerset Council and its partners – care providers Homes2Inspire (part of national charity, Shaw Trust) and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust – won the ‘Innovation in Partnerships’ category for their trailblazing Homes and Horizons project.
The project is delivering 10 family-sized homes for children as part of a new model of care for Somerset’s most vulnerable young people. It will also provide 20 specialist foster carers and a brand-new, therapeutic education service on two sites within the county, designed to increase young people’s life chances through better educational results and improved mental health and wellbeing.
Chloe, a young care leaver involved with the project, attended the ceremony and shared the day’s festivities on the council’s social media channels. Chloe said: “Thank you to all the other young people who have contributed to Homes and Horizons over the last year and made it such a success. Without the input of all the care experienced people who have helped shape our work it would not be the innovative partnership that it has become.”
Claire Winter, Executive Director for Children, Families and Education, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award and have the work we are doing to support vulnerable young people in Somerset recognised nationally.
“This award is a real testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved with this project – they have worked tirelessly, often going the extra mile to ensure that vulnerable children and young people are put first. Their professionalism, commitment, and genuine care for the children and young people that they support is central to the success of this project, and it’s wonderful to see this acknowledged nationally with this prestigious award.”
Chris Luck CB MBE MA MPhil CCMI FRSA, Group Chief Executive of Shaw Trust, said: “To thrive we need our care, health and education needs to be met. In Somerset we are doing this for some of the county’s most vulnerable children through innovation and putting the child first. In a genuine partnership of equals with a shared determination to change the approach and the system, we are creating a better future where the children have a voice as first amongst equals.
“A brave and determined Somerset Council Children’s Services team, supported by their elected officials, is creating the conditions for children to thrive and Shaw Trust is proud to be a partner in this bold new approach. We are delighted this has been recognised by the judges in the MJ Awards.”
Mark Conway, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust’s Deputy Head of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), said: “We are so proud to have won this award alongside our partners at Somerset Council and Shaw Trust. Traditionally across the country NHS and local authority services have operated separately in the way they support children who are looked after, but in Somerset we are keen to work closely together to provide much more holistic care that will improve the emotional and mental health of some of our most vulnerable young people.
“This service has been developed alongside children and young people themselves, who have told us that they want us to offer something that is local, personalised, and aspirational. By offering this type of specialist care and education with tailored therapeutic support, children and young people in Somerset will have the best possible chance of realising their potential.”
For more information on the Homes and Horizons project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the project on social media using #HomesAndHorizons.