VOYPIC, the local charity which works in partnership with children and young people living in care, is hosting a ‘THIS IS ME’ talent showcase, tomorrow Friday 21 February (rehearsals 4-6pm/show 7-9pm) in the ICC Belfast to celebrate international Care Day 2020.
In its fifth year, Care Day 2020 will focus on and champion the young people and children who live in care, with the overriding theme #REIMAGINING. A range of events and activities have been organised across Northern Ireland to mark the occasion, with the grand finale taking the form of the ‘THIS IS ME’ event, featuring young people engaged with VOYPIC.
Since Christmas, groups of young people from Belfast, Bangor, Ballymena, Lurgan and Derry/Londonderry have been working with professional artists to prepare for the ‘THIS IS ME’ event. Talents that will be showcased include singing, dance, drumming and circus skills.
Alicia Toal, chief executive, VOYPIC (Voice Of Young People In Care) discusses: “Care Day is an excellent initiative that allows the incredible young people we work with, and indeed all care experienced young people, to take centre stage and inform the world about what that care is really about.
“It challenges everyone to take some time to rethink what they think they know about how children are cared for in Northern Ireland. Young people we work with have told us that many people don’t have a very positive image of care and children in care. Some think that children in care cause trouble or don’t do well at school. We need to challenge those myths.
“On Care Day, we show the world that this isn’t true. On Care Day, we celebrate the talents, achievements and identity of the many young people in care who inspire us all, from right across Northern Ireland.”
As of March 2019, Northern Ireland had its highest number of children in care since the introduction of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995. The Department’s Children’s Social Care Statistics for Northern Ireland also show that four-fifths of the children in care here were in foster care placements (79%) while 11% were placed with parents, 6% in residential care and 4% in other placements.
Local care experienced young people are welcoming the Care Day initiative.
Naomi McGrady (16), a VOYPIC Young Leader from Glenavy, Co Antrim says: “Care Day is a really important day for everyone involved in VOYPIC and for all the other young people in care. It’s a special day, where we can show the world that we proud. This year’s Care Day is all about REIMAGINING, so it’s really great that people are taking some time to think about what care is and realise that young people in care are just like everyone else.”
Aaron McKenna (16), a VOYPIC Young Leader from Belfast adds: “It’s so important for there to be days like Care Day. I know some people don’t have a great opinion of young people in care. That’s a stereotype, it’s prejudice. Days like Care Day, especially this year with the theme REIMAGINING, show people that young people in care are just young people. We have dreams, we want to achieve, we want to do well in life. And, with a little help, that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
Rebecca Taggart (17), a VOYPIC Young Leader from Bangor says: “I’m really looking forward to Care Day, especially the big celebration event that VOYPIC is running on Friday night. It’s a chance for lots of young people in care to come together, to celebrate our strength and to show the world we’re just like everyone else.”
The young people participating in ‘THIS IS ME’ will perform to an invited audience of peers, carers and professionals from across Northern Ireland.
Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) has joined with similar organisations from across the UK and Ireland call on the United Nations to designate Care Day as the International Day of Care Experienced People, to help support and promote awareness of children living in care.