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Young listeners making a difference in Wiltshire

22/01/16

A child or young person’s early life experiences have a crucial impact on their adult health and life chances. Find out what one local Healthwatch is doing to get more young people to share their experiences of health and care.

We spoke to Healthwatch Wiltshire to find out more.

What made you start this project?

We know that young people often feel that their views are not listened to and this is something we want to work to change.

Together with local youth charity Youth Action Wiltshire (part of Community First) we have formed the Young Listeners project. We had worked with Community First previously on an engagement project with isolated older people, and knew that their approach to engagement had potential to help us deliver our aspirations for working with young people.

Tell us more about it

The aim of the project is to listen to children and young people’s views on how health and care services could be improved. To do this, we worked with Youth Action Wiltshire to train 12 people, aged 16-18 years, in skills such as safeguarding, listening and communication.  They can now go out into the community and speak to children and young people about their experiences.

The Young Listeners will be supported to visit local groups and clubs to find out young people’s views on what is working well and what could be improved.

They are focusing on the three areas which we have identified as areas of interest through previous engagement work:

  • Young carers
  • Children and young people with special educational needs
  • Mental health and emotional wellbeing     
Following the training session one of our young listeners said - “As young people we didn’t feel that we had any authority when talking to a doctor, we can give...[other young people] that power”.

What do you plan to do next?

At the end of the project we hope to create a short film that will share what our young listeners have found.  We will also share their ideas with those who run and commission services.

If you are a young person and you would like to share your views on health and social care services near you, get in touch with your local Healthwatch.

 Get in touch with your local Healthwatch

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