Our Youth Engagement Officer
Making health and care better for young people
We are currently working on a project that brings young people together to share feedback and ideas on how Somerset’s health and care system could work better for young people. We want to make sure that children and young people from across the county can directly influence the health and wellbeing services that they use.
Young Listeners project
We are working with a group of volunteer Young Listeners aged 11 to 24 to find out what it’s like to be a young person using health and social care services in Somerset. Our Young Listeners will be talking to other young people from across the county about their experiences of health and care services – the good and the bad – and their thoughts on how these services could do things differently. They will ask questions and listen to what young people have to say. They will record this feedback to share with those who make decisions about how to develop and improve services in Dorset.
Our Young Listeners will complete a training programme covering a range of topics such as communication, teambuilding, mental health, and wellbeing, including AQA UAS accredited training. This will give them the skills and knowledge they need to design and deliver an impactful youth engagement project and to report their findings to inform positive changes in local services.
Areas of investigation
We aim to engage with a wide range of young people to gather their experiences of using health and social care services generally, and we will explore some areas and issues more specifically.
Our Young Listeners will help plan and design this project to make sure we explore the issues that are important to young people. Based on our previous work and feedback, and a report on Somerset’s Special Educational Needs (SEND) provision by the CCG and Ofsted in March 2020, we expect some of the following areas may be explored:
- Access to mental health support through GP surgeries
- Quality and availability of information about mental health and emotional wellbeing
- Experiences of children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum
- Access to SEND support for those who are excluded from school
- Assessment of SEND needs and how these are met, including Educational Health Care Plan assessments
- Accessing services to prepare young people for adulthood
- Lack of joined up working between SEND services
How to get involved
If you’re a young person living in Somerset, and you would like to share your views and experiences of health and social care services, we’d love to hear from you.
If you work with young people, for example in a school, college, sports or youth club, it would be great if you could support this project and help connect our Young Listeners with other young people.
For more information:
Phone: 01278 264405
Contact: Max Popham, Healthwatch Somerset Youth Engagement Officer