In Gateshead we are passionate about the involvement of children and young people in the planning, review and delivery of services which is why we were awarded Beacon Status for Positive Youth Engagement in 2006 as a Partnership. We engage with children and young people through a number of general forums including Gateshead Youth Assembly, the Junior Network, five Neighbourhood Youth Forums, the black and minority ethnic Youth Forum, Connexions YES forum and also more specialised groups including One Voice Youth Network for Children in Care and the Young Talented Camera Crew for children with disabilities. Involving younger children is also a priority. We have carried out innovative work through children’s centres to show how it is possible to understand the views of pre-school children and through The Children Say project, a DVD has been produced about what the Every Child Matters outcomes mean to young children.
Overview and Scrutiny processes and Best Value reviews
Children and Young people have been involved in a wide range of Overview and Scrutiny processes and Best Value reviews. Young people have been part of the evidence gathering and the discussions and visits. In recent months Children and young people have presented to full Council about the Philip Lawrence award winning “Am A Bovvered” drink spiking campaign, the Gateshead meets Ghana visit and the Komatsu youth exchange. Young people have also been directly involved in the development of the sustainable community strategy in addition to the Young peoples engagement plan for the Area Forum initiative.
Through a series of training sessions, Schools Councils are currently being re-invigorated to support children and young people to play a more active role in decision making in their school.
Development of the Children and Young People's Plan
The development and implementation of the Children and Young People’s Plan is an interactive process with action plans being reviewed throughout the year. Around 700 children and young people were involved in setting the priorities for the three-year plan in 2006. To raise awareness amongst more children and young people about the Children and Young People’s Plan and to engage them in how the plan should be delivered, an exercise will take place involving all Schools Councils throughout Gateshead. The Children and Young People’s Plan has been produced in a young people friendly version to help children and young people answer the question ‘what does it mean to me?’ This provided the ideal opportunity for Schools Councils to use their new skills to influence how the plan is delivered.
‘Involve Me’ Training
Involving children and young people is essential to making services fit for the future. Engaging with children and young people is the responsibility of all services across the workforce for children, young people and families.
New for 2010 - 11, ‘Involve Me’ is an exciting new training session delivered by the Youth Council volunteer group. The course, designed, developed and delivered by young people, will help effectively involve Children and Young People in the planning and delivering services.
More information can be obtained from Gateshead Youth Council 0191 490 1900 email firstname.lastname@example.org