Top award for Kinship and Kuddles the Bear

Kinship Care winner at the Heroes Of Youth Awards in the Mac Theatre Belfast.with Adam O'Keefe and Colin Murray. 
Pictures by Philip Fitzpatrick.
Kinship Care winner at the Heroes Of Youth Awards in the Mac Theatre Belfast.with Adam O'Keefe and Colin Murray. Pictures by Philip Fitzpatrick.

Derry charity Kinship Care was given the Special Recognition award at the Heroes of Youth Awards in Belfast last Friday night.

The group won the award for its book ‘Kuddles the Bear Goes to Granny’s’.

Advocacy worker with Kinship Care Leann Harris praised the young people for the hard work they put into the book.

“The book has been completely designed and developed by young people between the ages of 3 and 13 who all got together to tell the story.

“There is nothing like this book out there. The language that is used and the actions that are used are those of the young people. For instance, when Kuddles goes to his granny he doesn’t remember his toothbrush or his pyjamas, he remembers to take his x-box.

“It’s a lovely wee book and I’d love to get it into the classroom.”

Ms. Harris stressed that the book is aimed at everyone, not just those who have lost parents, but also friends of young people who may have lost parents, to help them understand.

The book has now been launched across Northern Ireland and there are plans to put the book on sale on Amazon.

“I am so proud of each of those who have told their own story to develop this book,” said Leeann.

“What these young people have had to overcome in their short lives has been incredible. They have had to deal with loss and trauma as well as a significant level of disadvantage and stigma. Despite this, they came up with the idea to write a story book, bravely sharing their stories which would help other children through the same situation as they were in.

“I cannot praise these young people enough for all their hard work, determination and entrepreneurial spirit.”

To date more than 2,500 copies of the book have found their way into schools, libraries and book stores; and it is also being used by many social workers to help youngsters adjust to new life situations.

The Judges’ Opinion was that these young people have “shown maturity beyond their years.”