Report – The Last Word

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:49pm by Gabrielle Smith

As the world seems to close its eyes to the people on the edges, life for children and young people in the care system is often steeped in a lack of expectation and frustration. This panel invited three changemakers to share how these perceived limitations can be replaced with satisfaction and aspiration.


  • Projects and campaigns driven by real stories, real people and real experiences
  • How can we do more to represent and advocate for children in care and looked-after children?
  • Use your voice and platforms to shape, change and raise aspirations


The final panel and the last word for this year’s CMC invited three impressive changemakers who are all working to make a difference. Kev Curran, who is the Founding Director for Inspired Youth was joined on stage with Former Vice Chair Shelly Reed and Natasha Woodrow from Show Me That I Matter. Sharing the poignant, personal and painful memories of a childhood interrupted, these three individuals captivated the audience.

Speaking of the importance of one’s early years and childhood, Kev Curran reflects that this time is perhaps a person’s most defining journey. If you grow up with kindness, stability and love – you have the confidence to reach for your dream. He reminded each of us that, ‘it only takes one person to believe in you, to spark a revolution in your soul.’

With the media representation of children in care flooded with images of doubt, negativity and pessimistic portrayals of being a ‘care kid’, Shelly Reed asserted how she ‘never wanted to be that statistic.’  Through the integral Aspire to More campaign, the group work to challenge societal perceptions and their website has already had over 26,000 hits. This project was created to raise aspirations for children in York, specifically through the power of stories – and as one young person shown in the video said, ‘if you talk about something loud enough, people will notice.’

Capturing the essence of what life in care is really like was fourteen-year-old Natasha’s poem titled ‘On the Edge’. Her articulation of life in care captured the thoughts and emotions of her experience.

There are voices to be heard, so here is your challenge. What more can you do?

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Gabrielle Smith

About the author

Gabrielle Smith

Northumbria University, Ph.D Student

Gabrielle Smith is a final-year Ph.D candidate at Northumbria University, Newcastle and is a film and television studies graduate from the universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow. Her current research explores the role of the British children’s television presenter. She has spoken at several international conferences, including the plenary panel of… Read more