A service which supports young people at risk of exploitation or going into care has scooped a prestigious MJ Achievement Award.

The City of Wolverhampton Council's Power2 service was named the winner in the Innovation in Children's and Adults Services category at the MJ Achievement Awards event hosted by newsreader and TV presenter Clive Myrie on Friday night (24 June).

The service works with young people at risk of gang exploitation or child sexual exploitation, substance misuse or criminal or anti-social behaviour, those who have been excluded from school or violent towards other people in the home, or those who have been subject to missing episodes.

And, over the last three years, it has helped dozens of vulnerable 11 to 25 year olds turn their lives around, improving school attendance and family relationships and preventing them from getting involved in high-risk and criminal activities or being taken into care.

Power2 builds positive, trusting relationships with young people and supports them to address the previous trauma they have experienced, which could include physical abuse, neglect, mental illness and separation or loss. 

The service was commended as good practice in recent inspections of local care and support services by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and HM Inspectorate of Probation, and what was initially a pilot project has now become permanent.

MJ Award judges were greatly inspired by the nomination and said: "Amongst such a high calibre of entries this year it was extremely difficult for the judges to make their decision and so it is a great achievement of which you should be extremely proud. Thank you for the life-changing work you do.” 

Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, the council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "The Power2 service has been a real game-changer in our approach to supporting vulnerable young people.

"Thoroughly evaluated and evidenced, it is a great example of how a multi-disciplinary team can seamlessly tailor their support offer to help improve the life chances for each young person and their family. 

"I am delighted that the innovation we have displayed in establishing this service has been recognised with an MJ Award and would like to thank the team for their continuing efforts for some of our city's most vulnerable children, young people and their families."

Emma Bennett, Executive Director of Families, added: "I was really proud when I heard we had won this category – especially as this team is one which we developed ourselves, in-house, and have now agreed to fund permanently. Huge congratulations to the whole team, including our partners, for their hard work."

The Power2 service is an integrated multi disciplinary, multi-agency partnership between children’s social care, adult social care, public health, the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and keyworkers from the voluntary sector including St Giles, Barnardo’s, Wolverhampton 360 and Gazebo Theatre.

Meanwhile, there was also praise at the MJ Achievement Awards for the Wolverhampton House Project, enabling young people leaving care to take their first steps on the property ladder by giving them their own home, which was shortlisted in the Social Housing category. The council's Travel Unit Team was a finalist in the Best Council Services Team category, while Kieran Simpson, an Equality Diversity and Inclusion Advisor with the council, was a finalist in the Rising Star category.