Local children in care recently took to the red carpet as they shone at an award ceremony to celebrate their achievements.
Held on November 18 at the Floral Hall in Southport’s Theatre and Convention Centre, the Sefton No Limits Challenge Awards are now in their 15th year. This year’s ceremony was bigger than ever, with over 200 children and young people nominated for 25 prizes by foster carers, social workers and teachers.
The awards acknowledge a young person’s achievement in a learning environment, whether in school, further education or an alternative setting through diversity, effort, attitude, progress and challenge.
Awards are not based solely on academic progress as they can be won by showing improvement in attendance, personal development, skills and knowledge.
No Limits was opened by local care leaver Joanne Lee, who was followed by The Worshipful Mayor of Sefton, Cllr. Iain Brodie-Brown, who handed medals, certificates and prizes to children and young people.
While everyone deserved their nomination, there could only be one winner, with the first prize handed to Ben Willan by John-Joseph Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding at Sefton Council, for his outstanding improvement and progress in his personal development. He was closely followed by joint runners up Jaydon Lavelle and Kayleigh Pilcher, who were recognised as great examples for other children by “going the extra mile” inside and outside school.
Sponsorship is vital to No Limits and this year’s event was possible with support from local organisations and teams at the Local Authority including: ‘Our Place’ Sefton Care Leavers Centre; Homescope; Parenting 2000; Southport Soroptmists; Crosby Soroptimists; Sefton Governors Association; Sefton CVS; Children’s Services, Library Service and the Integrated Youth Service at Sefton Council.
An award was sponsored for the first time by Sefton Council employee Margaret Porter and her son Mark in loving memory of her late husband Alan.
Cllr. John Joseph Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said: “It is great to see that the No Limits Challenge Awards are still going strong and continue to celebrate the efforts and achievements our looked after children, which is so important for their development.
“While rightly proud of the children and young people, I want to extend congratulations to the tireless team who organise the event, as well as the many social workers, foster carers, teachers and special guardians who took the time to nominate winners and nominees.”
Nicky Walsh, Head at Sefton’s Virtual School for looked after children and project lead for No Limits also commented: “Seeing first-hand how hard our children and young people work and the way the aspire to be the very best they can be, makes it all the more rewarding to be involved in an event such as the No Limits Challenge Awards, where we have the chance to celebrate their achievements.
“It was great to see so many children and young people filling the floral hall and looking so smart as they received their certificates. We are already looking forward to next year’s event.”