Somerset Council is celebrating after being shortlisted for the prestigious Municipal Journal Awards for 2023.

The Council is shortlisted in the ‘Innovation in Partnerships’ category for its trailblazing Homes and Horizons partnership, working with care providers Homes2Inspire (part of national charity, Shaw Trust) and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

The Homes and Horizons project is delivering 10 family-sized homes for children as part of a new model of care for Somerset’s most vulnerable young people. It will also provide 20 specialist foster carers and a brand-new, therapeutic education service on two sites within the county, designed to increase our young people’s life chances through better educational results and improved mental health and well-being.

Councillor Tessa Munt, Executive Lead Member for Children and Families, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the ground-breaking work we are doing here in Somerset to support young people is receiving national recognition.

Just over half of Somerset’s young people who live in our care currently live outside the county. This just isn’t right. The Homes and Horizons project will make sure that our most vulnerable young people can come home to Somerset, and those who need our care in the future can stay in Somerset, close to their family, friends and community.

Each of these young people has experienced a very challenging start in life. Helping them overcome the obstacles they face with this innovative scheme is the very best use of the skills and expertise brought together by this partnership.

Chris Luck CB MBE MA MPhil CCMI FRSA, Group Chief Executive of Shaw Trust, said:

We are delighted to be recognised with Somerset as finalists in the MJ Award for Innovation in Partnerships. This partnership demonstrates that councils can aspire to genuine innovation, quality, and maximise value-creation with trusted providers, to deliver holistic services that meet the needs of individuals and their local communities. This truly ground-breaking partnership is the standard that all councils should aspire to and is one that Shaw Trust is immensely proud to have co-created.

Mark Conway, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust’s deputy head of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), said:

We’re proud to be working in partnership with Somerset Council and Shaw Trust on this exciting new service development. Traditionally across the country NHS and local authority services have operated separately in the way they support children who are looked after, but in Somerset we are keen to work closely together to provide much more holistic care that will improve the emotional and mental health of some of our most vulnerable young people.

The service has been developed alongside children and young people themselves, who have told us that they want us to offer something that is local, personalised, and aspirational. By offering this type of specialist care and education with personalised therapeutic support, children and young people in Somerset will have the best possible chance of realising their potential.

The second stage of the judging process takes place this month in London, where finalists will present to the panel. A live awards ceremony, also to take place in London, will be held on Friday 23rd June.

For more information on the Homes and Horizons project, contact or follow the project on social media using #HomesAndHorizons.

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About this article

April 5, 2023

Suzanna ArnoldFry

Children and Families

Health and Wellbeing

Press Release