Young People's Zone

Voices 2017, FAQs

Would you like to enter Voices 2017 but have some questions about the process? Read our frequently asked questions to find out more. If you still have questions, email

1. What can I write?

It’s a creative writing competition so that means you can write pretty much anything. It could be a poem, a short story, a piece about your feelings, a diary entry … anything! The only real limits are that it must be your own work, about ’new beginnings’, and it must be no more than 500 words – if you write more than this we’ll stop reading at 500! If we find that an entry is copied from someone else we will disqualify it, and all your other entries. You can find some tips and ideas to help you get started here.

2. How do I enter?

Entries must be submitted via the webform. You must include your name, age and where you live on the form. You can key in your writing or attach a document or a photo of your entry. We must able to read your writing.

3. Can I submit more than one entry?

You can submit up to three separate pieces of writing per person. If you submit more than three pieces of writing only the first three received will be read.

4. What are the prizes?

Prizes will be awarded to 18 shortlisted candidates. The shortlisted candidates will receive a book voucher. The runners-up will receive £50 Love-to-Shop voucher. The winners will receive a £100 Love-to-Shop voucher. Further prizes and awards may be announced during the competition.

5. How is it judged?

Each piece of writing will be judged on the following criteria:

Theme - How well does it match both the theme of ‘New beginnings’?

Voice - How strong, original and unique is the voice?

Emotive - How well does it engage the readers’ emotions?

6. Can I submit my piece of writing in a different language?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept entries in languages other than English. If English is a second or third language or if you have any learning difficulties that affect your English (for example, dyslexia), please let us know and we will take this into account when judging your piece of writing. This year there is a special award for migrant young people (who have come to the UK from abroad) so young people whose first language isn’t English can be recognised through this award.

7. When is the deadline?

The deadline is Wednesday, 21 February, 2017, at midnight.

8. Do I need adult consent?

If you are under 18, it is very important that you have adult consent – without this we may not be able to shortlist you into the top 18. This could for example be a teacher, your carer or social worker.  If there are any problems getting help and consent from an adult, please let us know and we will do our best to help.

9. Will you publish my writing?

We may publish your piece of writing to help raise awareness of the work Coram Voice does and the issues young people in care and care-leavers face. We will do this anonymously, but we will try to let you know if we do. We won’t publish your piece of writing with your real name unless we have first checked with you and a trusted adult that this is ok. We may invite you to collaborate with us in the future on similar competitions, or work with young people.

10. When is the final awards ceremony and can I come along?

There will be an awards ceremony on 10 April, 2017 at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 4AZ. The top 18 shortlisted candidates will all receive invitations for themselves and a guest – so please keep the date free if you can – we would really love to have you there.

11. What will you do with my personal information?

We will use your information to send you a certificate of achievement, to contact you if you are shortlisted and to keep you updated about the competition. We will only keep your personal details for a year. For more information you can look at the Terms and conditions here.

12. Why can’t I put my name in my piece of writing?

We want to share your great stories with as many people as possible. If you put information that could identify you or someone else then we would need to check with every individual that they agree to us sharing their details. That would take a very long time – we would rather spend that time sharing your stories!

13. Can I get help or write it with my friend?

The work must be original, which means it must be your words and your voice. It’s fine to get help with spelling and grammar, or to write in group situation, but you cannot write your piece jointly with someone else. 

14. What is the age limit for care leavers?

We know that the care journey doesn’t end at 21 or 24 for everyone. If you are aged 24 or under and your case with Children’s Social Services is open or closed you can submit entries. If you are over 24 years old and are still receiving support from Children’s Social Services then you may still be eligible - if you have an allocated Personal Adviser (PA) and/or your case is still open with Children’s Social Services then you can submit entries. If you are over 24 and don’t know whether your case is open or closed you can get help from your local advocacy service to find out. You can find contact details for your local advocacy service here.


Discover the Voices 2017 winners here