Wirral Youth Voice
The Voice of children and young people
The Youth Voice is to ensure the Voices of Children and Young People on Wirral are heard, the conference is prepared for all year round and run on a yearly basis which has attendance from different schools and Youth Services in Wirral, the conference then takes the feedback from that day and uses in to improve services for Young People in Wirral.
Youth Voice 2016
- The Youth Voice conference was held on October 11th 2016, this was run by the Youth Voice Group, as part of the Youth Engagement Framework which is pictured above.
- In 2015/16 the Youth Voice Group has been involved in a range of consultations across Wirral on improving a range of support services for young people including:
- Working with the Behaviour Support Manager to develop an anti-homophobic Policy for schools and facilitating workshops at the Anti-Bullying Strategy Conference.
- Engaging with NHS/PCT and presenting the Wirral Health and Wellbeing model at launch of the strategy.
- Attending meetings with the Merseyside Police Commissioner and giving their views and experiences relating to issues such as CSE, Stop and Search and young people in custody.
- Influencing service development and delivery including working with Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director CWP Wirral CAMHS on a proposed questionnaire for young people looking at self- harm.
- Working on a new initiative with Community Action Wirral to set up a SEND Youth Voice Group to enable young people with disabilities to help shape the Wirral’s Local Offer and directly influence commissioning of services on Wirral.
- Consulting with young people and organisations on the design and delivery of the Youth Voice Conference. The conference also benefited from the guidance and support of the Youth Engagement Reference Group. This is a multi-agency forum for those people who have young people’s participation within their role. Members have been recruited from across wider service areas to support the work and include representatives from Public Health, NHS (CAHMS and Vision 2018), Wirral Community Trust, Housing, Merseyside Police and the Girl Guides.
Aims of the Youth Voice Conference 2016
The aims of the Youth Voice Conference were to provide young people with the opportunity to:
Explore current issues affecting the lives of young people namely of mental health
Improve their understanding of issues around mental health.
Question council officers, councillors and officers from partner organisations on policy matters and to influence service provision related to the young people’s mental health.
This years conference took place in Wallasey town hall and all secondary schools were invited to attend with some of their pupils, Young People from Youth Provisions were also invited, The Peer Educators from Creative Youth Development (CYD) and the Youth Voice Group (YVG) played a key role in the design and delivery of the conference and decided on a different format for the day based on feedback from previous conferences by young people, professionals and their own experience. As in previous years, the day was punctuated with performances by young people from CYD exploring the theme as previously this method had received extremely positive feedback.
- In the morning time all participants of the Youth Voice Conference did a workshop called ‘What is mental health?’ the training was put together by The Youth Voice Group who gained the knowledge from CAMHS and the Early Intervention team.
- The workshop itself focused on the types of stress and how stress affects us mentally, physically and socially.
- Later on in the morning all participants of the conference attended one of three workshops which were;
Dealing with loss & change – exploring ways of how to cope with emotions, transitions, change and where to find support.
Myths and stigmas – exploring how the media and societal pressures affect young people’s perceptions and attitude to mental health.
Changing attitudes – exploring how we can change attitudes and perception of mental ill-health
There was also market stalls which offered advice during the break and lunchbreak these were provided by;
Barnardos, Brook, Health Services in Schools, CAHMS, The Open Door and CYD.
The main part of the afternoon was taken over by the debate in the Council Chamber. Five themes were debated using motions from schools, New Horizons and the Youth Voice Group as the stimulus. Strategic managers were seated around the table in the centre of the chamber and young people were seated in the areas usually occupied by councilors. Each debate was introduced by using a short film about the theme, with the aim of helping build a common understanding on the issue, these being:
Theme 1: Social media and mental health
The Film shown was:
BBC – SCHOOL REPORT 2015 – SOCIAL MEDIA AND MENTAL HEALTH
The motion proposed:
SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE’S MENTAL WELL-BEING, IT IS JUST A WAY THEY COMMUNICATE AND LEARN
Proposed by Wirral Youth Voice Group
Theme 2 – School Curriculum and mental health
The film shown was:
THE STAND UP KID – TIME TO CHANGE
The first motion proposed was:
MORE TIME AND RESOURCES SHOULD BE DEDICATED TO EDUCATING SCHOOL STUDENTS ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESSES AND ON ADVISING TEACHERS ABOUT HOW TO APPROACH STUDENTS WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. WHILST SOME ADVICE IS OFFERED ABOUT
ANXIETY AND STRESS, VERY LITTLE IS OFFERED CONCERNING ISSUES SUCH AS DEPRESSION
Proposed by West Kirby Grammar School
The second motion proposed on this theme was:
SCHOOLS AND THE COUNCIL SHOULD PROVIDE A WIDER RANGE OF CLUBS AND ACTIVITIES (APART FROM SPORT) THAT WOULD HELP YOUNG PEOPLE WITH THEIR MENTAL WELL-BEING.
Proposed by Woodchurch High School
Theme 3 – LGBT & MENTAL HEALTH
The film shown was:
LGBT AND MENTAL HEALTH
The motion proposed was:
IT SHOULD BE COMPULSORY THAT MENTAL HEALTH IS INCLUED IN SRE LESSONS IN SCHOOL AND THEY SHOULD BE LGBT INCLUSIVE.
Proposed by Wallasey Outreach
Theme 4 – THE MEDIA & STEREOTYPES
The film shown was:
YOUNG PEOPLE, MENTAL HEALTH AND THE MEDIA
The motion proposed was:
YOUNG PEOPLE KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REAL LIFE AND TV OR FILMS. NEGATIVE IMAGES OF MENTAL HEALTH IN THE MEDIA ARE JUST THERE FOR DRAMATIC EFFECT AND THE MEDIA DOES NOT HAVE A RESPONSIBILTY TO BE TRUTHFUL AND FACTUAL.
Proposed by Wirral Youth Voice Group
Theme 5 – RESILIENCE
The film shown was:
WHAT IS RESILIENCE – YOUNG MINDS
The motion proposed:
IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO SPEND SCHOOL BUDGETS ON EXTRA- CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES THAT ARE KNOW TO BE GOOD FOR MENTAL HEALTH, I.E. SPORT, OR TARGETED MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Prenton High School for Girls
Evaluations and feedback from the Young People
- 99% rated the conference between 8 and 10 (10 being excellent and 1 being poor).
- 70% have a greater understanding and knowledge of mental health who rated the workshop between 8 and 10 (10 being excellent and 1 being poor).
- 26 (40%) young people stated, as a next step, they would like to participate in the Youth Voice Group.
Feedback from participants
|Better understanding and awareness of issues around mental health and how it can affect them and others.|
|Increased awareness on how to spot the signs of stress and developing coping strategies|
|Improved self-confidence to enable them to share their views within workshops and in the debate in the Council Chamber, in the presence of Councilors and Senior Officers.|
|Increased knowledge and awareness on where to access information and support with dealing with a range of issues particularly related to their mental health.|
Other particular strengths and highlights identified in the feedback included:
|The role of the Youth Voice Group in the design and delivery which ensured that the content was relevant and participants were fully engaged.|
|Young people from the SEND Youth Voice group were able to express their views and contribute to the debates in a meaningful way.|
|Participant feedback indicated that the debate in the Council Chamber gave young people more opportunity to discuss issues than in previous years. It was also good preparation for the Youth Parliament event where the theme of mental health was successfully carried forward into the motions debated there.|
Recommendations from the Young People
|Counseling services to be provided in every school and youth club/hub.|
|Professionals need to have more understanding and knowledge of mental health and the issues that surround it.|
|Teachers and Youth Workers should be trained to deal with panic attacks and other mental health issues.|
|Training needed for pupils to help and support other pupils if they do not want to go to a teacher for support.|
|Mental health should be discussed more in schools and youth units so that more awareness can be raised about this subject and to help ‘normalise’ the subject.|
|More awareness required around gender and sexuality in relation to mental health is needed.|
|Better advertising in schools so pupils know who to go to for help and support.|
|More funding needed for mental health support and facilities in schools and clubs.|
|Professionals need to visit schools and clubs to find out what works best to help those with mental health difficulties and to inform better service delivery.|
|What support can the police give?|
|How can young people feel safer on the streets when struggling with mental health?|
|The curriculum is putting too much pressure on children and teachers alike and causing stress – what can be done about this?|
|A conference/event looking at engagement forums existing from across Wirral is needed to bring young people and professionals together to share good practice and build better links and engagement.|
Following the 2016 Youth Voice Conference the next steps will be:
| To take forward the recommendations and themes from the Youth Voice Conference through the Youth Engagement Reference Group and the wider Youth Participation Framework.
Feedback from Young People and other Agencies
What did you learn?
‘How to deal with stress and who to turn to’
‘That every school has a youth worker (HSIS) ’
‘Learnt more about mental health and how it affects all of us
‘How you can deal with loss and change’
‘What help is available for people young people suffering with mental health and more of an insight into how common mental health is
‘I learnt that there is more to loss than death’
‘learnt about stress and how mental health is portrayed in the media’
‘I learnt a lot about how people with mental illness are feeling every day and how to make people more aware of this’
‘How to cope with loss and change and different views on mental health’
‘That mental health is extremely common and it is nothing to be ashamed of’
‘Different types of mental health and how to cope and deal with the issues’
‘How to treat people with mental health issues’
‘How to deal with change’
‘The media can portray mental health in a negative way and that’s not the truth’
‘How to deal with change’
‘How to help people who have mental health issues’
‘That 1 in 4 people have a mental health problem’
‘How stigmas can be made from the media’
‘How to deal with stress’
‘The stigmas and stereotypes of mental health’
‘Schools don’t take young people’s ideas and thoughts seriously’
‘That everyone can struggle and the confidence to ask for help’
‘You are not alone’
What have you gained from taking part in today?
‘More knowledge on how to debate’
‘Confidence, a voice and taking part’
‘A better idea of where to go if I want to talk to someone’
‘I have developed speaking/debating my point and taking part in the great debate’
‘Loved the debate’
‘I have a greater understanding about mental health’
‘I learnt more about mental health and I enjoyed the market stalls’
‘I have gained a new appreciation for mental health’
‘I now know how mental health difficulties can happen to everyone’
‘I have gained ways to raise awareness of mental illness to share when I get back to school’
‘The motivation to change how things are in my school around mental health’
‘Knowledge about mental health and awareness’
‘The ways in which mental health is and how it needs to be educated in schools
‘Speaking out in the debate as I can really anxious and this helped me over-come this’
How could we improve today and make it better?
‘For people to be able to write down their questions and have it read out if they are to under confident to speak out’
‘The debate felt a bit rushed and there was no mention of whether anything was going to come from it’
‘Have more schools’
‘To encourage more people to speak out in the workshops and to include more things (not just stress) in detail’
‘Make workshop groups smaller’
‘Microphones or louder voices to help with hearing problems’
‘More workshops and more activities’
‘Have bigger discussions’
‘Focus on different mental health issues separately and to teach what the symptoms are’
‘Workshops to be more interactive’
‘I would have liked to of done more workshops’
‘I feel there could be more activities rather than hearing people give speeches’
‘Break up the debate so it doesn’t go on to long’
‘To talk more about the motions in the workshops and then debate them’
‘More time to look at information stalls’
‘More people should have attended today so more people are aware of these issues’
‘No workshops in main hall as people in there were too loud and we could not hear the leaders’
‘More debate time’
‘Maybe to have more stalls next time’
Overall the conference was a great success and great next steps have been given by the Young People if you would like to participate in the Youth Voice Group contact me at email@example.com or on 0151 666 4539
Please follow link below to read the full report
Youth Voice Conference 2015
The annual Youth Voice Conference was held on 20th October 2015, this year the agenda was all about ‘keeping safe’ this involved working with Merseyside Police Commissioners on their Youth Action Group looking at issues such as CSE and representing the views of young people in relation to the partnership summit meetings for the Wirral 2020 strategy.
Seven workshops were held on the day these were;
- BEING STREETWISE
- MEDIA PRESSURE
- MATE CRIME
- GANG CULTURE/PEER PRESURE
- INTERNET SAFETY
All secondary schools in Wirral were invited to bring along four Young People, Young people from youth provision facilitated by local partners, agencies, local training providers and Youth Support Service projects were also invited to attend,
The day included;
- A choice of seven forty five minute long workshops with each delegate taking part in three
- Two issue based performances by young people from CYD aiming to stimulate discussion. One of these was extracts from ‘Bully or Banter” a peer education performance and workshop package exploring bullying behaviors and consequences. The other piece performed by Inclusion Dance explored a range of CSE issues
- Voting on the motions from workshops using the pads used as part of the ‘Bully or Banter’ drama piece
- Plus market stalls of relevant organisations
At the end of the day the Young People got to ask a panel of professionals questions, this panel included, Julia Hassall – Director of Children’s Services, Lucy Johnson – Community Engagement Officer, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside and the Police, the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board developed their business plan for 2016/17 based on the results of the Youth Voice Conference, the main priorities that came from this are;
1. Mate Crime
Teachers/youth workers need to be trained in mate crime to help young people to recognize the difference between a friend and someone committing mate crime
We would like to see more awareness raised in schools as well as compulsory confidential one to one sessions for all pupils at least once a term, to discuss or raise issues. Most importantly young people need to be convinced that something will be done about bullying if reported.
How are your organisations going to educate young people about exploitation including prevention work and the consequences?
What are your organisations doing to tackle issues involving gangs?
5. Internet Safety
What, as a panel, are you doing to improve internet safety and raise awareness, with our young people online? How does the council ensure that up to date methods of teaching internet safety are used?
6. Media Pressure
Organisations need to raise awareness of eating disorders as there is no support in schools on body image and eating disorders.
7. Peer Pressure
How can we ensure that every young person in Wirral has access to confidence building skills, and professionals including teachers are trained to tackle peer pressure as part of the curriculum?
The board will be working together with other agencies to improve all of the above in any way which they can.
Child Sexual Exploitation Performance
The young members of Creative Youth Development, the Youth Voice Group and the Inclusion Dance Company, all from Wirral have been developing a performance piece which aims to raise awareness and highlight the dangers of Child Sexual Exploitation.
The Young people involved in developing the production have described the work they have done:
‘We created this piece to raise awareness around Child Sexual Exploitation, using Physical Theatre and dance, as it helps young people understand the stories and learning easier. We found that CSE Is not openly talked about, but it happens, and
It’s happening more and more. We wanted to raise awareness and wanted to educate children, young people and adults about CSE. We were concerned that young people were seeing these behaviours as an everyday life thing, viewing it as ‘cool’ or the ‘norm’. We wanted young people to realise that it is not normal.
Learning about the forms of exploitation was an eye opener. We wanted to research it even though it is a taboo subject. We realised as we researched it that people who have experienced CSE wear many masks. We wanted to make sure we could create a piece that could be seen by everybody due to it becoming more common and hitting younger ages.
We did varied forms of research as a group, meetings, presentation, online information and training processes. We went to the Merseyside CSE Police Youth Advisory group meeting and learnt about the varying forms and faces of CSE. We used a case study from the Rochdale investigations. We also looked at signs and symptoms. We also used case studies from Banardo’s, with facts and figures. In one of the sections, we used case studies to create short scenarios for the piece on how to escapes/get away from being caught in CSE.
While we were creating the piece we performed it to many professionals, the Merseyside Police Commissioner, David Robbins the Safeguarding Business Manager for Children and young people, the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board and the Leader of Wirral Council.
We also attended safeguarding CSE training and Wirral Mental Health Awareness conference. Whilst addressing Wirral Children’s Trust meeting and performing at a Safeguarding Wirral Reference group meeting.
We had feedback about the performance and learnt further about the varying forms of Exploitation, from radicalisation, Child Sexual Exploitation, gangs and mate crime. We have used all the advice and incorporated all these issues into our piece.
We also reflected on personal experiences. Realising that friends may have in the past experienced CSE, but we didn’t have a name for the behaviour back then.
We have learnt what CSE is, that it happens, it can happen to anyone. That males can be victims too. We have learnt and understood the signs and symptoms so others can recognise them from our performance. Learning the issues and how they can be presented tastefully but with still have maximum impact. We realised that a lot of us knew scenarios from our own past, but only just realising the signs. That the age range needs to be lowered to access this work as its needed as the age range in CSE is getting lower. We have also learnt that there is help out there to get out of these situations. That it is not an ‘never ending cycle’ there is a way out of these situations.’
Below is a video on each of the subjects,
1. Mate Crime