Young Ambassadors champion eye care at local primary schools
Healthwatch Bedford Borough has taken part in the first child-led campaign launched to tackle avoidable blindness in the UK.
We spoke to Healthwatch Bedford Borough to find out more.
How did this issue come about?
Back in early July we were approached by the Bedford Eye Care Working Group (BECWG) about working in partnership to deliver Eye Health workshops in local primary schools as part of Moorfields Eye Charity 'Eye Heroes' campaign. The aim of the project is to work with schools, healthcare professionals and local authorities to make sure children know what they need to do to look after their eyes. We thought this would be a great opportunity for our 13 newly appointed Youth Ambassadors to get involved with the campaign. Our Youth Ambassadors are volunteers between 16-19 who were recruited through assemblies delivered to local sixth forms. Their role is to provide the necessary peer taught workshops to primary school pupils within the borough.
What happened as a result?
Moorfields Eye Hospital Charity has funded this project and trained our 13 Youth Ambassadors to deliver Eye Hero workshops to children. So far they have already been out to four primary schools in the borough. As a result of this work, a number of other schools have signed up for our assembly on the value of volunteering for Healthwatch Bedford Borough and the importance of making sure what young people want from health and care services is heard.
Have you had any feedback so far?
We have received a lot of interest from the press and leading councillors. This has been a great way for us to engage with children in local school settings about their health and care, and for our Young Ambassadors to work with our community and encourage more young people to get involved with Healthwatch Bedford Borough. After the first session, one of our Youth Ambassadors, Gwen Muzuke, said: "Wow, you have put so much into this and what your role encompasses is the reason for my attraction to the medical sector. What you do and aim to achieve is so great and I am truly glad that I am going to be a part of it. Again, thank you for the opportunity!"
Find out more about the Eye Heroes campaign and how to bring it to your local authority, school or afterschool club.
If you're interested in volunteering, get in touch with your local Healthwatch to see what opportunities are available.