The Voices 2024 Creative Writing Competition is still open for entry until 17th December!

For care experienced children and young people, and care leavers aged 4 -25 years.

To express creativity, celebrate imagination, be heard and tell their stories!

Entries can be anything from poetry, short stories, music, rap, spoken word and more, in line with this year’s theme “what makes me different?”, up to 500 words.

What is Voices?

The Voices competition is run by Coram Voice, a charity within the Coram Group, helping children and young people in the care system to get their voices heard and to access the support they are entitled to. The competition was launched in 2016 as a positive platform for children in care and young care leavers to express themselves and to celebrate their creative talents. It also helps to build wider understanding around their lives and experiences. You can read last year’s fantastic shortlisted pieces and find out more about the competition here. Since it started, the competition has gone from strength to strength and Coram has received over 1,000 entries from talented young people over this time.

The actor Peter Capaldi, who has hosted many of the previous awards ceremonies, says: “I’m knocked out by the talent of those who take part. The experience of care is not a straightforward one, and needs greater understanding from all of us. There are few things that illuminate it more than these powerful words, chosen by gifted and resilient young people who have gone through the system.”

Brigid Robinson, Managing Director of Coram Voice, said: “Care-experienced children and young people have incredibly powerful stories to tell, and I am blown away by their honesty, authenticity and creativity. The Voices competition is the chance for young people to write about what matters to them most, to be heard, and to feel proud of themselves. Every year, I hear about the successes and achievements of former Voices finalists and winners, it reminds me of why we run this competition. I can’t wait to read this year’s entries!” 

How to enter

This year's theme "What makes me different?" has been selected by care experienced children and young people through an online vote. The judges want to hear the voices and thoughts of children and young people on this theme -

  • What is it that makes us all different?
  • Is it our life story?
  • Is it who we are on the inside?
  • What do we look like on the outside?
  • What are really good at?
  • What do we need help with?

Entries can be up to (but no more than) 500 words long and can be a story, poem, rap, article or anything else that fits the theme.

Twenty-four shortlisted finalists will be invited to the Awards Ceremony in February 2024 held in London, for a celebration of talent and creativity. All finalists will receive a prize, and all entries will receive a certificate.

The categories:

  • Primary Category (Under 10s)
  • Lower Secondary Category (Age 11-14)
  • Upper Secondary Category (Age 15-17)
  • Care Leaver Category (Age 18-25)

Not a writer?

Voices is welcoming artistic creations this year, to have the opportunity to be chosen for the cover of the official Voices 2024 publication. One piece will be chosen, and the individual (and +1) will be invited to attend the Awards Ceremony in February and will receive a prize.

Rosie, Runner-Up in the Voices 2022 Primary School category, said: “When I first started to write my piece for the competition, I was a bit confused what to write, but in the end it turned out how I wanted it to. I was really excited to find out if I was going to get in. When I found out I was shortlisted, I was so excited that I could share my story with people that had experienced the same things as me. At the awards, I read out my story in front of everyone – I was really nervous but after I was really proud of myself.” Full details, terms and conditions and entry form is available on the Voices 2024 webpage.

Check out some of the guidance from one of the Judges Rebekah Pierre who will be joining Deborah Maclaren, MD of LoveReading4Kids on the judging panel for 2024. They can't wait to see your entries.