A councillor has won a prestigious award for her work to drive forward improvements for children and families in Wolverhampton.

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Councillor Val Gibson, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Families, won the Innovation category at last night's LGiU and CCLA C'llr Achievement Awards.

The awards aim to recognise councillors who show dedication to their communities and make positive changes to the lives of people locally.

Councillor Gibson was nominated for her work around children in care in Wolverhampton and her championing of the council's Families r First programme.

Over the last 5 years, the number of children in care in Wolverhampton has doubled, but through the efforts of the Families r First programme, which puts greater emphasis on tackling problems within the family unit and early intervention work, that number is now starting to come down.

The nomination presented to judges stated: "A dedicated campaign to recruit additional local foster families has been launched in support of Families r First, and Councillor Gibson has played a key role in fronting this campaign and challenging the myths about fostering."

Councillor Gibson said: "I am delighted to have won the LGiU Innovation Achievement of the Year Award - and to have been chosen from a list of worthy opponents is a great honour.

"Our Families r First programme is already starting to make a positive difference to the way we and our partner agencies keep children in Wolverhampton safe.

"I would like to thank all of the staff who work so hard for children and families. They have embraced the changes to the way they work, and without such a dedicated workforce winning the award would not have been possible."

Meanwhile, Councillor Elias Mattu, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, received recognition for his work supporting the development of a network of community hubs around Wolverhampton.

He was shortlisted in the Community Champion category at the LGiU and CCLA C'llr Achievement Awards, and although he did not win on the night, judges heard how he had been instrumental in protecting services by bringing them together under one roof.

The councillors were nominated by Councillor Roger Lawrence, Leader of Wolverhampton City Council, who said: "I'd like to congratulate Councillor Gibson for winning this award, and also Councillor Mattu on securing a nomination.

"I am pleased they have received national recognition for their hard work to develop and maintain quality services on behalf of the people of Wolverhampton at a time when the council is facing unprecedented government budget cuts."

  • released: Tuesday 3 March, 2015