Julie’s our children’s champion…by royal decree

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WHEN Liverpool City Council worker Julie Cashin (Bennett) got a phone call telling her she was going to receive an award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, she immediately thought it was a prank call.

Children’s Rights and Participation Manager Julie was out shopping at the time and presumed one of her three grown-up sons was having a laugh. 

Her response was straight to the point: “I’m in no mood, it’s pouring down with rain and your dad’s having a meltdown!”

It was only when she returned home and picked up her emails that Julie realised the ‘posh speaking guy’ on the other end of the phone wasn’t her son, but an official telling her she had been awarded the MBE for her contributions to Children’s Services.

Julie’s career with children began in 2001 when she ran a playscheme in Everton before joining the council’s fostering team in 2005.

In her role as Children Rights and Participation Manager, she has helped hundreds of children and young people in the care system find their voice and go on to lead independent lives. 

Julie has been instrumental in setting up Liverpool’s Children in Care Council and has also created the Children’s Scrutiny Panel to make sure that children’s voices are heard at the highest level. 

She is now waiting for a date to come through for a visit to Buckingham Palace to pick up her award and she will be taking her proud father 81-year-old Bobby Cashin, along for the day.

Julie Cashin said: “I am always being pranked by my sons, so when the call came through I just thought it was them. I am overwhelmed by it all really, it’s a wonderful honour and it’s also a real testament to the fantastic young people I have worked with over the years. 

“For me, it is so important that we not only listen to the children of our city but we act on what they say and thankfully the city council and all the other partners that work with children in care believe in this ethos as well. 

“There is nothing better for me than seeing a child who has come into the system, frightened, lacking in confidence and not trusting adults, go out the other side and go on to lead a happy and fulfilling life, that’s the real honour.”

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Lynnie Hinnigan, said: “This honour is richly deserved and we are delighted that Julie has been recognised for all her amazing work.

“It is clear that Julie Cashin doesn’t just do this job, she lives it and she truly is a champion for children in our city. Not only has she supported many young people through the care system, but she has also taken some of them and mentored them to become the next generation of children’s rights workers and follow in her footsteps. It makes us sure that the future of support for children in our city is in safe hands.”