This page is currently being reviewed with the Young Listeners in Wiltshire.
Healthwatch Wiltshire believe that the voices of children and young people are just as important as those of adults. We are therefore in the process of setting up YouthWatch Wiltshire. This will be a group of young people that meet regularly to look at health and social care issues for children and young people. This will ensure that their voices are heard by the decision makers. Young people involved in YouthWatch Wiltshire will also have the opportunity to get involved in other relevant projects.
Are you a young person with an interest in health and social care? Please get in touch with us on 01225 434218 or email email@example.com.
What better way to find out what children and young people think about health and care services than by inviting them to speak to a specially trained ‘Young Listener’? During 2016 Healthwatch Wiltshire worked with Youth Action Wiltshire on this innovative approach to engagement. A team of Young Listeners were supported to find out about what it is like to be a young carer, live with a special educational need, or with mental ill-health.
What we did
Working with Youth Action Wiltshire and Community First’s Community Organisers we trained a group of 10 young people (aged 16 – 18) to become Young Listeners. They carried out training in listening skills, community organising skills and safeguarding and were supported to carry out listenings with other children and young people. The Young Listeners worked together to develop questions that they would ask.
They were supported to visit youth groups and clubs run by Youth Action Wiltshire to listen to the views of young people. They chose their listening style to suit the ages of those they were listening to for example, having a conversation with older young people and by creating a board game to play with younger children and encouraging them to draw pictures of their experiences. After each listening, the Young Listeners had a chance to reflect and report on what they had heard.
The project was so successful that it was nominated for a prestigious Children and Young People Now! Award in the ‘Youth Volunteering and Social Action’ category.
What we found out
- Children and young people want to be seen as individuals and treated with respect.
- Many young people felt that the waiting time for an appointment after being referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) was too long.
- Young people felt that they weren’t being listened to and said that they found it unhelpful seeing different mental health professionals each time.
- Some young people said that they did not know where to go for advice on either physical health or mental health in schools.
What we will do next
We will work together with the Young Listeners to share what they have heard with the commissioners and providers (the people who plan, pay for and run services) of services so that the voices of the children and young people who spoke to the Young Listeners can help shape services in the future.
The Young Listeners will also carry out further listenings looking at some of the key messages that were heard. These will focus on:
- Health in schools
- Mental health and emotional wellbeing
Young Listeners blog
Have a read of the Young Listeners blog!
Information for Children and Young People
On Your Mind is a site run and managed by Wiltshire Council that signposts children and young people in Wiltshire to sources of support for good mental health and emotional wellbeing. Healthwatch Wiltshire and our Young Listeners have been involved in the development of this site and will be involved in monitoring the content to ensure that it provides the information that children and young people need.
Wiltshire Children’s Advocacy
If you are a child or a young person in care, or if you are a care leaver, an Advocate can:
- Help you to express your views and wishes to ensure they have been heard and taken into account by people who make decisions that affect you
- Help you to understand the decisions that have been made about you
- Speak on your behalf if you are unhappy about the way you are being treated by social services or you are worried about plans being made, such as a move.
- Accompany you at meetings and reviews
- Help you to understand your rights.
You can ask for an Advocate if you are a child or young person aged 7 years or over in Wiltshire and:
- You need to make your views heard at a Child Protection Conference
- You are looked-after
- You are a care leaver
- You are in private foster care
- You have a disability and are accessing overnight short breaks in Wiltshire
- You are in receipt of social care services or health services and wish to make a complaint or a representation
To get in touch with an advocate, phone 0300 3658 300
Wiltshire Safeguarding Children Board are committed to keeping children safe.
In order for children and young people to have a voice and influence the work of the Board, WSCB have set up a Youth Safeguarding Board. They sit approximately every 2 months and are currently focussing on 3 key topics:
- Keeping safe whilst online gaming
- Social media safety
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