The Mayor invited a number of local young people to Lagan Valley Island recently for a special event to celebrate ‘Care Day NI’.
They were joined at the coffee morning by the Mayoress, members of the charity Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) and representatives of Crewe United FC and the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust.
The Lisburn event was one of more than 70 which were held simultaneously right across Northern Ireland.
Attendees were encouraged to ‘Look, Act and Care’ for children in care and care leavers, to understand the reasons why children come into care and recognise the potential of children and young people in care.
During the event, Mayor Brian Bloomfield praised VOYPIC for its work to improve the lives of children and young people who are cared for away from home.
“The Mayoress and I were pleased in keeping with the theme of the event to ‘put the glasses’ on to ‘Look and Care’. It was touching to hear first-hand how those children present have adapted to growing up in care. As parents we took for granted the fact that our children came home to us every day. Sadly for some this is not always the case,” he said.
“We were shocked to hear that last March there were 2,890 ‘looked after’ children in Northern Ireland. VOYPIC promotes the rights and improve the lives of children in care and this is why I was glad to be able to host a coffee morning for this worthwhile charity.
“Such a charity is needed as children in care are one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in our society. They can find it hard to feel part of a community as they have had to move away from their family and familiar neighbourhood and settle into a new home and community. Some young people may live in a number of homes during their time in care and each time presents a new challenge to them. These challenges do not stop when they leave care as adults. At this time they can find they are socially excluded and this is an added stress when they should be enjoying their independence,” the Mayor continued.
Praising the efforts of local football team Crewe United on behalf of the charity, Cllr Bloomfield added: “Crewe United has raised money for VOYPIC throughout the year to support and provide a safe environment for those children in care and care leavers. It placed the charity’s logo on its football kit this season alongside its major sponsors. I would like to commend Crewe United and encourage everyone to support this charity helping local young people across our city.”