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Youth service wins award for innovation

Published on Friday, May 27, 2016

LEICESTER City Council’s youth service has won an award for its work to ensure young people are listened to by professionals.

The British Youth Council has awarded the service its Youth on Board Innovation Award, which celebrates new ideas and practices that make a real difference to the way in which organisations work with young people.

The youth service worked extremely closely with young people to create How Will You Hear Me? – a training resource for professionals who work with children and young people.

As part of the project, young people share their personal stories in a series of films. They talk about their experiences of being listened to – or not – by different public bodies.

For example, Ria’s story talks about her experience of being defined by her health problems, and her infuriation at doctors addressing questions about her illness to her parents rather than to her.

Yash talks about being a victim of a mugging, while Reece talks about the isolation she feels being a young carer.

The films form part of a training resource pack for professionals, aiming to help ensure young people’s voices are heard.

The resource pack helps organisations to take account of the views of young people and involve them in the delivery of services.

Cllr Sarah Russell, assistant city mayor responsible for children, young people and schools, said: “I’m delighted that the How Will You Hear Me project has been recognised in this way by the British Youth Council.

“In Leicester, we have very well-established youth council and a team of young advisors who are actively involved in local democracy, and I know both groups have been involved in the creation of this training resource.

“I’d like to congratulate and thank our youth services staff, partners and of course the young people we’ve worked with for coming up with such an innovative way of helping to ensure their voices are heard by professionals.”

Brahmpreet Gulati, one of the young people whose stories are featured in the films, said: “These films are already having an impact on local decision-makers and have resulted in young people’s voices being heard more. We took a hard-hitting and realistic approach, looking at the lives of young people who have not been listened to, consulted or recognised by people providing services for them in the past. By sharing these stories, we hope more young people’s voices will be heard in the future.”

Film-maker Keith Allott from Badshoes Film, which made the films, said: “Leicester is a city packed full of inspirational young people, whether it be through things they've overcome or their abilities in the creative sector. It was great to combine those two areas on this project and watch not only the exceptional writing and performance skill but also the level of support and understanding for each other shared by the young participants.

“Winning this award is testament to the hard work, ingenuity and bravery to try a new approach from the Leicester youth team and the determination and talent of the young people who so clearly wish to change the future of others for the better.”

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