SEND Youth Voice Group
Empowering young people to share their views is at the heart of the local offer.
You have told us that words are not always the best way to share your ideas and experiences and that you need other ways to communicate. Based on this we approached Creative Youth Development who facilitate Wirral’s Youth Voice Group (YVG).
We asked the group if any of the young people with SEND would be interested in having a separate group that tackles issues related to SEND, the response was positive and so the SEND Youth Voice Group was born.
Staff and peer mentors facilitate the SEND Youth Voice Group in a way that empowers young people to communicate through dance, drama, art and words if they choose.
The group is open to all young people from 13-25 years with SEND
It meets every Tuesday 6pm-7.30pm
at Creative Youth Development (CYDT – Pilgrim Street Arts Centre)
Dance and drama sessions for 8-14yrs – SESSIONS ARE FREE AND INCLUSIVE OF ALL ABILITIES. A great link for families who are struggling and might need support, or for families where children have SEND needs or in foster placements.
- Children Looked After dance/drama sessions on a Wednesday evening 5.30-6.30pm
- General Juniors on a Wednesday evening 6.30-7.30pm
- Breakdance Juniors on a Wednesday evening 7.30-8.30pm
Pilgrim Street Arts Centre
1 Pilgrim Street, Birkenhead
If you would like to come along please contact Seline at Creative Youth Development by email [email protected]
Poppy our SEND Youth Engagement Officer is a young person who shares and uses lived experience to help shape and improve services for others. Within her role she gathers the voice and feedback from our children and young people with SEND in Wirral, giving them the opportunity to say how they feel about things. Another important part of her role is to champion co-production and ensure professionals involve young people in all we do.
TIPS FROM POPPY
Building relationships of trust are key to young people’s participation and should be factored into all communication.
When young people are involved in co-production, a lot of the time they are going to be sharing their thoughts and experiences on sensitive and meaningful topics. Young people can’t be expected to share without trust being embedded into communication.
To help build trust with the children and young people I work with, I like to take my badge off, sit wherever they choose.
I like to play a few games and icebreakers to get the energy levels up but also to allow them to get to know me and vice versa. Using ice breakers such as the name game, they open up and I am able to help them feel comfortable.
I always feedback to the children and young people throughout the session by saying things like ‘ I agree with what you have just said and I would like that too’ or ‘ sometimes I struggle with that’ so they know I am listening.
A really important thing I like to do is repeat what they say to ensure I have understood. I always tell them how much of an impact their voice is going to have and it has really helped me in my role. When I introduce myself and tell them who I am and the reason I got my job, it helps as I can say I am similar to them and they can relate to me, but they also they see me as a young person.
Ask the young people how they want to communicate with you. This may be differ from young person to young person so to ask them at the outset is important. For young people to participate and engage they need to feel comfortable but also respected. Asking this question will enable both.
It is ok to feel intimidated speaking to young people – ask the question – how does the young person want to be spoken to? For example, asking what pronouns. Asking questions about how they want to communicate makes young people feel comfortable.
Follow up questions – Always ask follow up questions such as ‘is there anything you don’t understand?’. This gives young people time to think and gives them a safe space to say they don’t understand. It’s vital to ask this throughout your communication with them, enables them to understand that it is ok if you’ve gone over something that doesn’t make sense to them. At the end of all exchanges, ask this question.