Last week (9 May) around 40 young people from across Warwickshire came together with county leaders for the first Child Friendly Warwickshire Youth Voice event.
The event at Shire Hall, Warwick was attended by young people from the county’s Youth Council, Children in Care Council, Care Leavers Forum and IMPACT (SEND Forum). They were joined by children’s service managers, elected members and professionals from the public sector partners to talk about a range of local issues that affect them.
True to the ethos of Child Friendly Warwickshire, the event provided a platform for young people to ask questions, gain insight into the roles of the councillors, and ensure their perspectives were heard and valued. By actively engaging with the young councillors, Warwickshire County officials demonstrated their commitment to shaping policies and initiatives that align with the aspirations and needs of the younger generation.
With a focus on celebrating the youth voice, the event featured engaging activities such as drumming, salt sculptures, badge making and more. The atmosphere was vibrant as participants took part in four group discussions, addressing crucial topics: mental health and wellbeing, more things for young people to do, staying safe, and their experiences at school.
The feedback received from the young people in attendance mentioned how ‘inspirational’, ‘exciting’ and ‘interesting’ the event was and that they were pleased to have an opportunity to have their voices heard. Many left the event keen to make a difference in their community and are already looking forward to the next chance to get together.
Mia, a young volunteer at the Care Leavers Forum, lauded the event, she said: "It was a really good event, and the councillors showed that they want to hear our thoughts. They were here, outside of working hours, participating and wanting to shape a safe and inclusive Warwickshire as desired by young people."
Councillor Jeff Morgan, Vice-Chair of Warwickshire County Council who actively participated in the discussion on "More Things for Young People to Do in Warwickshire," expressed enthusiasm, he stated: "It was an extremely interesting evening, and great to meet so many young people from all walks of life. We've come up with some good suggestions as to how to improve their lives in Warwickshire, which I hope we'll be able to implement as soon as we can."
The event underscored the commitment of Warwickshire County Council to inclusivity and youth engagement. By facilitating meaningful discussions, the council strives to create a Child-Friendly Warwickshire where young people's voices are not only heard but also actively shape the county.
To find out more about Child Friendly Warwickshire, visit: https://www.childfriendlywarwickshire.co.uk/