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.
Children and young people who had experience of being sectioned were invited to present evidence of their experiences to MPs and key decision makers in relation to the Mental Health Bill. They argued against young people being held on adult mental health wards. The law has been changed and hospital managers must now make sure that people under the age of 18 are placed in an environment that is suitable for their needs: if an adult ward is not suitable then they cannot be admitted there. Young people have been central to this change in the law.
Staff on a new hospital ward invited parents and young people to discuss arrangements thereby allowing young people to have a say and directly affect change. Changes have been made in the choice of food and drinks, the information available and the introduction of an appropriate complaints system. Young people have continued to meet and agreed that the ward merited an ‘Investment in Children’ Award.
Young people wanted a fully equipped gym especially designed for children and young people. Using a questionnaire the young people consulted their peers about gym usage and healthy activities. Following a successful bid to the Youth Capital Fund (YCF) the gym has been built.
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!
After a consultation exercise with Cheshire West PCT, the teenage pregnancy midwife and 123 pregnant teenagers who attend the young people’s clinic, changes were put in place based on their responses to help make the service more accessible. One radiographer was replaced with a more approachable member of staff and some services have been developed to be taken out to the young people. Drop in clinics are now operating in hot spot areas. These offer local support and access to services.
Following constant anti social behaviour by young people at a sexual health clinic, staff and the PCT decided to engage young people and discover their views about the Clinic. Young people felt that the Clinic was not user friendly for young people. Changes made include staff training, availability of a detached youth work team, changes to clinic times and the implementation of a fast track system. The Clinic has remained open.
Young people wanted somewhere safe to go and hang out and not have to worry about being moved on by the police. A suitable building was identified and funding secured with young people being involved through the whole process. An area of the building is currently being refurbished to create a youth cafe. The cafe will include access to sexual health, drug and alcohol services and Connexions.
There was nowhere for young people to go at weekends in St Blazey, Cornwall. Young people wanted a youth cafe. A youth cafe has now been created and is open on Saturdays. It provides healthy, low cost meals to users and the opportunity for those who wish to learn to cook to create dishes. As it is based within the Fourways youth centre users have access to a range of other activities such as the pool table, sports hall and the Wii and advice and support.
The EEFO programme seeks to address barriers which prohibit young people from accessing the services that they need. Young people trained to become young assessors i.e. mystery shoppers and went on to evaluate a sample of services offering sexual health provision. Feedback/recommendations from the young assessors have been incorporated into the new quality standards and these will improve access to and improve the service provided by sexual health services for young people.