THE achievements of some of County Durham’s young adults who have been looked after by local authorities has been celebrated.

Durham County Council held an awards night as part of a series of events which took place during National Care Leavers Week.

This is the third time the Exceptional People in Care awards have taken place.

Among those to win were 18-year-old Rachel Calder, Volunteer Connie Jones, 19, and Andrew Rochester, 17.

Rachel, who won an education award, has just started studying at Newcastle University after achieving good results in her A-levels, despite a troubled home life.

Connie won the volunteer award after being nominated because of the time she spends volunteering in a number of different organisations despite her personal difficulties.

Andrew was chosen for his award by young people from the local authority’s Children in Care Council (CICC) because of his increased confidence and the support he gives to others.

Councillor Olwyn Gunn, Durham’s cabinet member for children and young people’s services – who attended the EPIC Awards, said: “We are fully committed to supporting care leavers whether that be through accommodation, education or financially.

“It is always great to hear stories of these young people building on the support we give them to make successes of their lives and it was humbling to meet some of them at the awards.

“With the football and the arts day, the week of events truly was a great success and we look forward to doing it all again next year.”

Care leavers are defined as adults who have spent time in foster or residential care, or in other arrangements outside their immediate or extended family before the age of 18.

In County Durham, there are approximately 229 care leavers age 17-21 and 183 age 22-24

The council offers a range of support for them in terms of helping them find somewhere to live, assisting them in their education and financial aid such as reduced council tax.

Aside from the awards, County Durham care leavers also enjoyed a game of football against counterparts from Gateshead.

The County Durham team triumphed 4-3 in the clash organised by Gateshead based national charity Changing Lives.

An art day was also held at Durham’s Sjovoll Centre, in Framwellgate Moor, where young people worked with an artist to complete artwork now on display at County Hall.

The venue was also scene of a family fun day for looked after children which sought to raise awareness of the CICC.