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 (26 January, 2024), 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 500 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 Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Dr 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 adult lives.

Ruby Spruce and David Griffin 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 others. 

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. 

Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre said: "It is extremely important that the amazing achievements of children and young people in care in Wolverhampton are recognised, and the I Awards is the perfect way to do this and it is absolutely wonderful to see so many young people enjoying themselves.

"Foster parents and support workers had an opportunity to join in the celebrations as they joined the young people at this uplifting event.

"We must remember that a lot of our children in care have not always had the easiest start in life and so the I Awards is the perfect opportunity to celebrate their success in the face of adversity.

"The event was yet another way in which we are able to show our sincere appreciation for our many foster parents who do an amazing job at looking after our children and young people in care and I'd encourage anyone who is interested in becoming a foster parent to either visit Fostering for Wolverhampton or Facebook or call 01902 551133. 

Councillor Chris Burden, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, who joined in the celebrations said: “The I Awards not only allows us to celebrate the achievements of all of our children and young people in care but is also a way for us to recognise those who have left our care and have gone on to lead independent lives. 

“The evening was filled with the most inspirational stories of achievement which supported by foster parents and support workers, has enabled our young people to achieve above and beyond and it gives me immense pleasure that we were able to recognise so many of our amazing young people.

“Of course, long after the I Awards event is over, we are committed to encouraging and supporting our children and young people so that they can continue to be the best version of themselves. It’s also very reassuring to know that our children and young people are all championed through the ongoing support from our very many amazing foster parents who day in, day out, provide the very best of care and are absolutely pivotal in the lives of the children and young people throughout the City of Wolverhampton and its surrounding areas.”