Monday, 28 September 2015

Bold new futures

Three of us in the office have had our youngest child start school this September. Generally things are going well, us mothers are adapting to seeing our little ones off to school (and the kids are doing too badly either!)

On the first day, a few weeks ago, one of my colleagues had a lovely experience as she walked her youngest to school on the first day. Along the streets approaching the school, on the pavement in chalk were encouraging words...

Dream big
Be yourself
You're a star
You rock kid
Have a great day
Here is where your journey begins...

How nice to have lovely encouraging words, we could all do with a few of those in our working lives too I think.

On another subject, places at our Safeguarding Conference are going like hotcakes... much faster than expected. We are going to see if we can make some more places available, but in the meantime book today if you want to be sure of a place!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Let young people play their part

Sorry for the gap in blog posts. One of my strengths (and weaknesses) is my passion for my job... I sometimes get involved in too many things at once!

It was our AGM this week and the undoubted stars of the show were the young people from Surrey Heath Youth Council who presented on the great practical work that they have done around preventing use of "legal highs" and anti-bullying.

I frequently go to meetings full of professionals (very often with not a single young person in sight) where issues such as self-harm, legal highs, mental health and bullying are discussed. The solutions that are come up with are generally the same... leaflets, messages via the professionals, a website etc.

Who are young people more likely to listen to? An old fogey like me rattling on about an issue on which I have no personal experience or a young person who may have directly experienced the issue or had a sibling or friend who has? I strongly believe that we should be turning to young people across the county to help with these issues. There are many young people who want to.

Often what is needed is not much more than the salary of a good youth worker to support young people in their work. The Citizenship Foundation ran a great session for us at a local school, where the young people were passionate about supporting their peers through issues. It was the kids who have had the tougher times in life, often from poorer backgrounds, who were the most engaged in the process. The Citizenship Foundation can come in and deliver, or alternatively train up local youth workers on their workshop materials.

Surely in these times of austerity it also makes economic sense? I am now looking for evidence that will prove (or disprove) my theory that it makes the best social and economic sense to create the conditions and support structures across the county so that many of these thorny societal issues affecting young people are being addressed primarily by youth-led initiatives. If you can supply any evidence either way I would be very grateful...