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Children's Rights and Engagement Team

The Children's Rights and Engagement (CRE) Team provides support and offers advocacy to all children and young people in Gateshead. 

The team is responsible for managing multiple channels of support for children and young people in Gateshead, such as the Gateshead Youth Council and the SEND Youth Forum.

An additional priority for the CRE team is to support young people who are struggling with their wellbeing or who just need someone to talk to.

The CRE Team consists of:

  • Chris Hulme, Children's Rights Officer 
  • Valerie Ender, Young Peoples Engagement Officer and 
  • Alex Thompson, SEND Involvement Officer

The team also has three new Young Ambassadors; Marciceu, Jake and Aisha. The Young Ambassadors concentrate on issues affecting children and young people that are looked after in Gateshead, as well as young people in the area who have left care. 

There are several ways young people and carers of young people with additional needs can access support from the CRE Team. 

Find out more about the types of support on offer and how you can access support below.  

One Voice Youth Network (OVYN)  

One Voice Youth Network (OVYN) is Gateshead's Children in Care Council. 

One Voice has three groups:

  1. MiniVoice meets during the school holidays and is for children aged 8-11
  2. OneVoice is for young people aged 11 - 17/18. They meet every Monday at the Lobley Hill Building
  3. OlderVoice is for care leavers, and they meet as and when needed. 

Chris Hulme keeps in touch with care leavers and when either he or the Young People have issues that need looked at, they pull together meetings and groups.  Contact Valerie at valerieender@gateshead.gov.uk to join the group, or if you would like more information. 

SEND Youth Forum

The SEND Youth Forum is currently online, but the team are looking to have it face to face as soon as it is safe to do so. 

The Young People who attend the SEND Youth Forum have additional needs or are connected to children and young people with additional needs. 

The forum looks at issues affecting children and young people and works as a link between the young people and decision makers. Anyone who meets the joining criteria (aged 11 - 25 living or being educated in Gateshead with additional needs/are connected to someone with additional needs) is welcome to join.

To request to join the group or to find out more information, contact Alex Thompson at alexthompson@gateshead.gov.uk.

Young Inspectors

The Young Inspectors meet weekly on Wednesdays from 4pm until 6pm at Gateshead Youth Council, 12 Gladstone Terrace, Gateshead, NE8 4DY. 

They inspect services aimed at young people to ensure that they are fit for purpose, with consideration on ease and accessibility. 

If you want to get involved, please contact Valerie at valerieender@gateshead.gov.uk

Families Rights Advocacy Gateshead (FRAG) 

Families Rights Advocacy Gateshead (FRAG) meetings are designed to support parents who have children involved with Children's Social Care.

During the pandemic, they were moved online so the CRE team could continue to offer support.

Contact Chris for further information at chrishulme@gateshead.gov.uk.

Advocacy and Support to Young People 

Advocacy is offered to children and young people who have a social worker and might need extra support in making their voices heard. 

Any child or young person can also choose to access the advocacy and support offered by the CRE team.

Contact Chris for further information at chrishulme@gateshead.gov.uk

Key contacts

Chris Hulme - Childrens Rights Officer - chrishulme@gateshead.gov.uk

Valerie Ender - Young Peoples Engagement Officer - valerieender@gateshead.gov.uk 

Alex Thompson - SEND Involvement Officer - alexthompson@gateshead.gov.uk