Why young people get involved in shaping health and care
With 23% of people in Leeds aged under 19, YouthWatch was created to help find out what young people want from local health and care services. We speak to three volunteers about why they got involved.
As part of Healthwatch Leeds, volunteers aged 14-25 meet regularly to work on projects that aim to improve health and wellbeing for young people in the local area.
We spoke to three volunteers about their experience of joining YouthWatch Leeds:
Why did you get involved with YouthWatch?
Shanjida: “After doing so much research and hunting for work experience at the age of 15, I always felt like there weren’t many options, especially getting involved in health related areas.
"I was beginning to feel frustrated but then I found YouthWatch who were willing to take on young volunteers and provide an amazing experience.”
Eleanor: “I got involved with YouthWatch in order to gain experience of health and social care services, but also so that I could make a difference and be part of something which works to improve these services.”
How did you hear about YouthWatch?
Peter: “I heard about YouthWatch through a leaflet”
Eleanor: “I heard about YouthWatch whilst looking for valuable volunteering opportunities on doit.org”
What have you enjoyed doing as a YouthWatch volunteer?
Shanjida:“I like the fact that every project I have had the chance to get involved with has been different, from having the ability to help out in the office, working with people from different organisations, and attending meetings and events.
"Everything that I have been involved with has given me different skills but it has also given me a link with the local community and of course other youth members.
"Most importantly YouthWatch has given me an insight into what health and social care is like in the real world.”
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What has been your most valuable experience volunteering?
Eleanor: “My most valuable experience was undoubtedly helping to plan and facilitate the YouthWatch showcase evening, as it was a very rewarding experience.
"We were able to get the message out about all the fantastic work YouthWatch has done and personally I was able to facilitate a number of activities which was a new experience that that increased my confidence for the future.
"I think my time at YouthWatch will be a significant part of my personal statement for university, but it will also give me an abundance of experience which will help me develop as a person, helping me to pursue other opportunities in the future”
Shanjida: “Having the chance to organise the YouthWatch showcase event with other YouthWatch volunteers really gave me an insight into what is required when organising a large event, from finance to booking a venue.
"Seeing it all come together and having the chance to meet with others who are also working hard to improve health and social care services was amazing! I can’t express how proud I was of the work YouthWatch had accomplished.
"This event also gave me the opportunity to conquer my nerves and increase my confidence. I had the chance to prepare a speech and open and close the event, as well as document the whole thing and produce a YouTube Vlog.”
What would you say to other young people that want to get involved?
Peter: “I would say give it a go because it is good volunteering and also looks good on your CV.”
Shanjida: “Healthwatch is an organisation that is genuinely willing to listen to your ideas and concerns, your contributions are valued and there’s a chance to get involved in something that is real and genuine, your voice counts.
"So if you’re feeling apprehensive or you’re not sure, I have to say that volunteering is such a rewarding experience in itself. It gives you the ability to grow and gain skills that not everyone may have.”
Eleanor: “I think that any young person, who is interested in health and social care and wants to get involved in a volunteering opportunity, or simply wants to gain new experiences, should definitely consider joining YouthWatch as it will be an extremely rewarding decision.”
Want to get involved?
If you are interested in helping to improve local health and social care services, why not contact your local Healthwatch.