YoH (Youth on Health) groups were established within the Primary Care Trust to enable young people to have a say on health issues that mattered to them. Young people conducted research within local schools and came up with a number of proposals to improve the nutritional value of food. They also addressed issues of how lunch times were organised. Changes made included abolishing separate dinning for pupils with packed lunches so friends can sit together, healthy vending machines and the introduction of salad bars and water fountains.
Peer mediators raised concerns about the lack of a private space for them to carry out mediation. The young mediators identified a suitable space and designed and delivered a presentation to inform and persuade potential funders. Working with teaching staff and a builder they now have a purpose built mediation room where they can keep all of their resources, case records etc and provide a confidential, comfortable environment for mediation.
Shine is a project that takes a renovated library bus to visit local Gypsy and Traveller sites. The facilities are generally used by young children. Young women from one site requested support separate from the younger children and said that they needed access to the internet. The young women were supported in making a successful Youth Opportunities Fund bid and were awarded money to purchase laptops with wireless internet connections and a printer. Online access means that anything that the young women wish to research is now possible, including career guidance and driving test theory support.
The school youth council raised school litter as an issue. This coincided with the school’s introduction of the National Fruit Scheme. As crisp packets had been particularly identified as a litter problem it was agreed that children would eat fruit at break times and compost bins were provided for a trial period. The scheme was successful and has continued resulting in the reduction of litter and the promotion of healthier eating. The school generates compost now as well!
Young people identified racism as an issue within this multi-cultural area and wanted to improve relationships within their community. The project identified a suitable training course for the young people who met regularly and invited other members of the community to join their project. The young people organised and helped run a fun day to bring all members of the community together. The young people feel that they have improved relationships between different cultures in the area.
Children had indicated in a survey that they wanted more support and help with their homework; however they were not bringing their homework to the libraries. In partnership with NewCeys the library service funded staff to establish homework clubs in all Newham libraries. Young people fed back to the staff and this enabled the service to develop to the needs of the young people. An evaluation of the service indicated that children who attended the clubs did better at maths and science.
Children and young people and their parents were consulted about proposals to close a residential facility at their school. Young people said that they did not want it to close and that it offered valuable opportunities to socialise and share activities with their friends. A DVD was produced capturing both the young people’s and the parent’s views and shown to decision makers. The proposed closure was overturned.
Young carers at the school meet regularly within the school timetable to share concerns with the school and seek support from each other. As a group the young carers now have permission to use mobile phones at school (unlike other pupils) in order to contact home when needed. They have requested and received extra cookery lessons. They also receive support from the school to deal with issues such as attendance and homework on an individual basis.
Young people wanted more convenient opening hours and a more relaxed atmosphere with greater access to IT at their Connexions centre. Young people’s views have been incorporated into the design of a number of new centres. The opening hours have been changed and usage has increased.
The Care Action Team (CAT) is a group of young people in and leaving care who work alongside Hampshire County Council (HCC) to develop services for children & families. Together they have developed the ‘passport to success’ which addresses the responsibility of Hampshire County Council towards looked after young people as a corporate parent. One of the issues raised was the need for more support for young people in higher education. As a result HCC now encourages looked after children and care leavers to attend university by promoting the support available and working with universities to attend to the particular needs of looked after children and care leavers. The young people received a Wavemakers award in recognition of their achievements.