Young people from across the city shared their views on whether they think Leeds is a child friendly city at a Youth Voice Summit event last week.
Since 2016, Leeds City Council’s Voice, Influence and Change Team has hosted various Youth Voice Summits to enable large numbers of young people from across Leeds to come together to share their views, contribute to citywide consultations and work on campaigns.
Seven years on from the introduction of the Child Friendly Leeds initiative, Leeds City Council’s Children and Families Scrutiny Board are undertaking an inquiry into the question ‘is Leeds a child friendly city?’
As part of this inquiry, the Scrutiny Board wanted to ensure that the voices of young people from across the city were heard and incorporated in to this work.
The 2019 Summit for youth and community groups provided an exciting opportunity for members of the Scrutiny Board to meet with and hear the opinions of young people from a variety of diverse backgrounds.
With a record turnout of over 150 young people representing 19 different youth and community groups as well as young people’s voice forums e.g. YouthWatch and MindMate Ambassadors, the event brought together young people, key influencers and decision makers to evaluate the success of Child Friendly Leeds.
The Scrutiny Board agreed to theme its inquiry sessions around the five outcomes set out in Leeds’ Children and Young People’s Plan. These outcomes are for all children and young people to be safe from harm; to do well at all levels of learning and have skills for life; to enjoy healthy lifestyles; to have fun growing up; and to be active citizens who feel they have a voice and influence.
The event provided a creative and accessible way of enabling young people to feed directly into the Council’s scrutiny process and share their views on what is good and what could still be improved with regard to these five outcomes.
Feedback from the event will help to inform the findings of the Scrutiny Board’s inquiry and will be reflected in the final inquiry report which is expected to be published in May 2019.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Children and Families, said:
“The Youth Summit event last week was a great opportunity for young people to express their views and contribute to the important work of the Scrutiny Board. The Board is exploring whether Leeds truly is a child friendly city, so it’s absolutely vital that the voice and influence of young people is incorporated into this.
“All of the young people in attendance on the night were highly engaged and are a credit to the youth and community groups that they were representing. The opinions of young people in the city are incredibly important to us here in Leeds and I would urge all young people to get involved as active citizens with either the Leeds Youth Council, or one of the many other young people’s engagement forums in the city, to make their voices heard.”
Councillor Alan Lamb, Chair of the Children and Families Scrutiny Board, said:
“It was absolutely fantastic to hear the views of so many young people from across the city. These views and opinions will help considerably in informing our inquiry into the child friendliness of Leeds.
“I hope that the summit demonstrated to the young people in attendance that they are able to engage directly with democracy, that they do have a voice and that we do listen. I hope it also showed them that politicians from different political parties are able to work together, in this case to improve outcomes for the children and young people in Leeds.”
A young person who attended the Youth Voice Summit, said:
“I really enjoyed being able to voice my opinion and I know it’s going to have an impact in the city. We genuinely felt listened to.”
A youth worker who attended the Youth Voice Summit, said:
“I really enjoyed seeing so many young people from diverse backgrounds come together to have their say – and celebrating that together with wonderful support.”
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