Merton’s young people have a voice
The Young People’s Participation and Engagement Team within Merton’s Children, Schools and Families Department provides opportunities and support for any child or young person who lives, studies or works in Merton, to influence local policy and decisions on key issues which affect their lives. Chelsea Renehan, the team manager gives YMT an update on ‘user voice’ activity over the last few months:
The work of our team has continued to develop as we review activity in order to continuously refresh and improve our participation offer to young people. We are currently planning a project to deliver short term frontline consultations with young service users in the borough, delivered by students from Goldsmiths University of London. The ‘placement’ students will target consultation activity with users of our commissioned services. We are currently waiting to hear from Goldsmiths about next steps, and then we will work closely with Merton’s Commissioning Team to progress project planning and implementation.
We have continued to strengthen our partnership working across Merton’s Children’s Trust. This has included: attending the Central London Community Healthcare Trust (Merton’s community health provider) Quality Stakeholder Group to give advice on participation approaches including a ‘listening event’ and a ‘staff attitude’ survey to assess approaches to ‘user voice’ in practice; contributing to the interview process for a new assistant team manager for Merton’s My Futures Team; and meeting Catch22, who are commissioned to provide a range of services to support young people, to advise on monitoring and evaluating ‘user engagement’ approaches.
Our Merton Youth Parliament (MYP) continues to go from strength to strength; please see the full article here: Merton Youth Parliament: a new manifesto and more.
In addition to this we have continued to support our key groups of young people to have an impact on the following areas of work delivered across Merton’s Children’s Trust:
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
We are committed to ensuring that our most vulnerable young people are heard and recognised as equal and active contributors to their own needs. We are currently reviewing the Education, Health and Care Plan process to ensure that it captures the views of children and their families, and, with the help of members of MYP, we are exploring the best ways to implement participation opportunities for young people with SEN and/or disabilities (SEND).
Merton’s Young Inspectors worked with EcoLocal to contribute to the Merton Great Weight debate, giving their views on childhood obesity and healthy eating from a young person’s perspective. They consulted local takeaways in Mitcham, promoting the Merton Healthy Catering Commitment, and encouraging proprietors to sign up. They then attended the Great Weight Debate Hakathon which saw young people and community adults come together to explore how best to encourage young people to make healthy food choices.
We are conducting a targeted consultation of behalf of Merton Clinical Commissioning Group, using interviews and focus groups, to explore young people’s experiences of commissioned ‘tier 2’ Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and their views on how these services could be developed. This feedback will inform the development of the ‘getting help’ element of the new iThrive model.
Funding has been secured from Merton Public Health and the Clinical Commissioning Group to develop a group of health inspectors to deliver the NHS ‘You’re Welcome’ quality criteria for young people friendly health services, to ‘youth proof’ local health providers including GPs and pharmacies. The new group has met and contributed to developing an outline action plan which will be reviewed by funding partners. They will undertake training and development over August and begin to plan their consultation process and quality assurance indicators.
Safety – please follow this link for an update on a MOPAC funded project: Young Advisers to explore policing and youth crime reduction.
For more information on the work of the Young People’s Participation and Engagement Team please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.