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A website is born...

The Beacon is Leicestershire's website for Children in Care and Care Leavers. It's a place to find out what you need to know about your education and being in care. It's a place where you can have your say about services for children in care and a place where you can be involved, be in touch, get help and advice and have some fun. We're proud of the start we've made but we are never satisfied. We know this website can improve and so we need you to use it and to tell us how we can make it even better. Thanks for visiting the Beacon - we hope you like it!

Leicestershire County Council

This website began as an idea. The idea grew into a plan and the plan sprang into life when members of the Children in Care Council started to work with artists at a local creative arts company. Creative juices began pulsing through the veins of the young people involved and in no time at all, the Beacon name was born. Beacon Hill near Lougborough, the site of a bronze age hill fort and one of the highest points in Leicestershire, became our inspiration.

Aim high and fight hard against life's challenges, we thought. Follow the guiding flame and let the Beacon transmit its message to children in care across Leicestershire. Let us strive to be the best that we can be!

The next phase of the project started to take shape when we had an idea of working with students at Loughborough University to develop an inspirational design. The Children in Care Council embraced the plan and the response from Loughborough University exceeded all our expectations.

Loughborough University

The Graphic Communication course tutors agreed to make the website design one of the modules for the second year students. The Children in Care Council members met with all the students and told them what they would like and what they wanted the website to do. The students split into groups and their ideas erupted into a volcano of creativity. When we returned to choose the best design we were amazed by the quality. The website design we finally chose combined simplicity with a cutting edge style and versatility. And we hope you all agree that our 'cuddly fox' logo is simply the 'icing on the cake'. We love its warmth and its cosy pose and the light at the end of its tail which shines for us.

But the support of Loughborough University didn't end there. "We need a spectacular website launch", we thought, and into the spotlight stepped Loughborough Students Union. "We've got the coolest venue around", they told us, "And its yours if you need it." And so the best website launch party that Loughborough has ever seen was staged and the support from right across the university helped to make it an evening we will never forget. Thanks Loughborough Uni, for all your fantastic support.

Cuttlefish

But where would we be without the brains that can make it all happen? Cuttlefish are our website development partners who guided and advised us all the way along. They were there to nudge us back to reality when the ideas got a little bit carried away but they also agreed to some cutting edge development in order to make the coolest ideas become a reality. The experience and expertise at Cuttlefish have helped to make the Beacon unique. Thanks guys - you did a superb job!

Acknowledgements

It goes without saying that we couldn't have put such a brilliant website together without the help and passion of some great people. Our special thanks goes to Loughborough University students, Rebecca Stanton, Nicole Pearce and Emma Peach who designed the look and feel of the website and to Rhiannon Bater and Daniel Scott who created our fabulous Beacon fox logo and launch event designs. Also to Eloise Adler for her photograph of Beacon Hill on our front page and to lecturer, Simon Downs for the vision to include the project in his Graphic Communications course and for his help and guidance along the way.

The Beacon launch video

The website was launched at a spectacular party at Loughborough University Students Union on 14th May 2013. Have a look at this launch video to see the extra features built in to the private areas of the website for Leicestershire children and young people in care.