Hundreds of young people in care in Wolverhampton were rewarded for their resilience, hard work and achievements at an inspirational awards celebration.

The City of Wolverhampton Council’s annual I Awards, held at Grand Station on Friday night (27 January, 2023), celebrated the efforts of local children and young people in care and care leavers and recognised their hard work and success over the last 12 months.

More than 450 children and young people were invited to collect awards in recognition of a wide range of achievements, from doing well at school to getting involved in their local community and overcoming challenges in their personal lives.

They were welcomed to the I Awards by the Deputy Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Michael Hardacre, with the event also celebrating success in academic achievements and personal growth and recognising the achievements of care leavers who are taking the next steps in their lives.

Shawna Gibbs and Shania Rigby were named winners of the Inspirational Achievement Award after demonstrating commitment and resilience in their lives, including high academic achievements, and constantly showing commitment through supporting various initiatives helping other children in care. 

The event was hosted by SophieLou, Wolverhampton's ‘Queen of R'n'B’, who welcomed guests and award winners to the stage throughout the evening as well as performing several of her own music tracks. The evening was also an opportunity to recognise the winner of the Young Citizen of the Year award, recently presented to Kye Barton.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Hardacre said: "I am extremely proud of the achievements of children and young people in care in Wolverhampton, and the I Awards are a great way for us to encourage them to aim high and reward them for their hard work.

"It's also a fantastic opportunity for the young people themselves to celebrate their successes with their foster carers and support workers.

"Many children in care have not always had the best start in life and have often faced very difficult periods in their young lives, and so it's all the more important that we celebrate their success.

"It was also a chance for us to say thank you to our many foster carers, who do such a good job looking after children in care, and I'd encourage anyone who is interested in becoming a foster carer to visit Fostering for Wolverhampton or call our Fostering for Wolverhampton team on 01902 551133 to find out more.”

Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, joined children and parents at the event and said: “The I Awards are such a fantastic way for us to celebrate the achievements of children and young people in care and for those who have left our care to start their own independent journey in life. 

“We heard some incredible stories of achievement which, coupled with the invaluable support from their carers, has enabled our young people to achieve in many different ways, and I am delighted that we were able to reward so many of our inspirational young people.

“We will continue to encourage and support children and young people so that they can aim even higher and be the best that they can be. It’s also great to know that our children are in great hands with our dedicated foster carers who continue to play such an important role and provide excellent care.”