Double win for Sandwell at National Children’s Awards
Sandwell Council and Sandwell Children’s Trust have won two national awards at the recent Children and Young People Now Awards 2023.
A Sandwell Children’s Trust led project won the Partnership Working Award for their work on Sandwell County Lines Intensification Week led by Sandwell Children's Trust's Horizons Exploitation and Missing Team. The partnership, including Sandwell Council’s youth service and Sandwell police, received praise from the judges for their work in reducing the number of young people affected by exploitation from criminal gangs in Sandwell.
The second award went to Sandwell Council’s STEPS Centre in the new category of Supporting Child Refugees. They saw off competition from others including Kent County Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for work at their specialised Centre in Smethwick which helps child refugees and their families. The STEPS Centre was also recently awarded ‘School of Sanctuary’ status for their welcoming approach to all.
Councillor Simon Hackett, Sandwell’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “Winning two awards is absolutely phenomenal! Both of these awards are down to the hard work of staff across the council, the children's trust and our partners in supporting some of the most vulnerable children and young people in Sandwell.
“This national recognition demonstrates we are among the best in the country at making a massive difference to children and young people’s lives." The Sandwell Children’s Trust led partnership for preventing child exploitation includes West Midlands Police, Sandwell’s youth service and voluntary organisations working together to not only disrupt and intervene, but to educate and create awareness in the community to support and enable and empower services and communities to recognise, respond and safeguard against exploitation.
Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, Chair Sandwell Children’s Trust said: “We are so proud that the vital work of the Children’s Trust Horizons Team has been nationally recognised. The team have built a partnership that is protecting children from being drawn into criminal exploitation and are transforming the lives of vulnerable children and families.”
Chief Superintendent Kim Madill from Sandwell Police, said: “Our partnership with the Trust is quietly making a real difference to the lives of kids across Sandwell – this award proves it.
“I’m really proud of the team who put in so much work in to transform young lives.
“Our efforts to protect some of the most vulnerable young people from some very dangerous criminals is one of the most hidden aspects of policing. The award gives national recognition to the hard work undertaken local by police, council staff and charities. Every day of the year they are working to keep kids safe and target the gangs who exploit them.”