The Voice of
Children and Young People
‘Dudley is a Borough where in co-production with children and young people their rights are realised, and their views shape decisions that are made about their lives and those of their families’
There is a strong commitment in Dudley Children’s Services to the active involvement of children and young people.
We support young people to make sure that they are heard on the issues that they feel are important and that their views are taken in to account by decision makers.
Through this process they will be able to develop their personal and social skills and identify how they are able to achieve more positive outcomes as active citizens.
As we continue to face the challenges and restrictions of lock down, we want you to know the Always Heard helpline service continues to remain open and is delivering the same level of support as always.
The helpline is free and available to all children in care, care leavers or the adults referring them, that live in England. They can answer any questions about the services children are entitled to and offer information on how to get an advocate who will help to guide them through the social care system.
We feel that now it is more important than ever to ensure that children and young people in care and care leavers can easily and quickly get an Advocate. We want to ensure that they can still rely on the helpline as the place where their voice is Always Heard.
Always Heard's - AdvoCat
Helping Children to Understand and Access Advocacy
As a leading children’s charity for young people in and around care, Coram Voice know that children under-12 often don’t know what an Advocate is, the benefits of one, that they are entitled to the support from one and how to get one.
To tackle this problem, they created AdvoCat, who is here to help.
They worked with children under-12 to develop AdvoCat - a cartoon character who:
Helps us engage and speak to children.
Explains to children what advocacy is and the benefits of an Advocate.
Breaks down the complexity of the care system and what children might expect.
Children have said they love AdvoCat, who has been described as their superhero, helping them get their voices heard “loud and clear” on their journey through the care system.
We feel it is now more important than ever that Looked After Children (LAC), Care Leavers and young people in and on the edges of care, can quickly and easily get an Advocate. We understand that at this time resources are being stretched and reduced, but Coram Voice and the Always Heard helpline remains OPEN, offering the same support and ready to provide advocacy.
Please help them support children and young people by:
Watching and sharing information about AdvoCat and the video feature on their website.
Using AdvoCat to help explain advocacy to young children and encourage them to contact Always Heard helpline free on 0808 8005792.
Following and taking part in conversations on social media using the hashtag #AdvoCat.
Coram Voice's Care Experienced Digital Innovators answer your questions about your care and give you hints and tips to guide you through the process. These are films made for and by care experienced young people, and they answer the big questions about care, as well as explaining how Coram Voice can help.
Click Here to access video's
Dudley UK Youth Parliament Make Your Mark Results 2019
From August to October 2019 members of Dudley Youth Council and UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) promoted the ‘Make Your Mark’ survey across the Borough. This is part of a national consultation which aims to identify the key issues affecting young people across the UK.
Schools across Dudley were asked to support the consultation by supporting Youth Councillors to lead assemblies to promote the ballot, by running and counting their own ballot or through teachers completing the ballot with students in school.
Dudley received 9539 votes all together and we would like to thank you for your support in making this happen and allowing young people voices to be heard.
The top five national issues were debated by young people in the House of Commons on the 8th November this year and will be available to be seen from the 13th of December 2019 at www.parliamentlive.tv. Those present then voted on what should be the two UKYP campaigns for 2020 – these were:
Put an end to Knife crime - Too many young people’s lives are lost to knife crime; the Government need to do more to help end the knife crime epidemic.
Protect the Environment – We believe that we have a responsibility to protect the environment from the effects of climate change for the next generation; and that the Government should look forward towards carbon neutral alternatives
Unfortunately, this year it was not possible for the debate to be broadcast live due to the debate taking place during purdah (pre-election period).
We’ve just updated the FREE STUFF section of IMO with some fantastic freebies, all exclusively available to children in care and care leavers in your area. Please share the site and these offers with members of your children in care council, care leavers in your area, and social workers, foster carers, etc.
Current ‘free stuff’ offers include:
Birchbox make-up and bracelet
Year-long subscription to Headspace meditation and mindfulness app
Goodies from Skinnydip London and Google
A free edition of The Week Junior Magazine
Premier League tickets
IMO is a new peer-led digital platform exclusively for children in care and care leavers. It has children’s voices at its heart, and all of its content has been created by or developed with input from children in care, for children in care.
The hub is regularly updated with new blogs, vlogs, podcasts, articles and campaigns. It also features a promotional section called ‘free stuff’, where we are giving away fantastic freebies and exclusive offers (including these tickets!) we have worked hard to secure from companies including Google and The V&A Museum, among others.
Please contact Darren Foley for further information 01384 815172.
How do you #definecare? A collaborative poem by care experienced people.
IMO invited care leavers from across the country to come together virtually during the lockdown to create a collaborative poem about how they define care. Here is the result!
Thank you to everyone who took part:
Alicia, Benjamin, Carla, Casey, Chloe, CPositivista, Danielle, David, Eleanor, Jai, Keeley, Kim, Nils, Paris, Ric, Rosie, Sophia, and Tychique.
The Fusion Project offers support and wellbeing services to young people from BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) backgrounds, whilst another part of the project provides support and wellbeing services to young people who identify as LGBTQ+. The groups discuss a range of different topics and activities, which are related to mental health and wellbeing. Some of the group topics have included understanding anxiety, mindfulness and have even had creative workshops as part of our group sessions including a music workshop and creative cooking. A lot of ideas and topics for groups also come from group members themselves, we take suggestions on board and try to accommodate the best we can, an example of this is the music workshop which was actually a group members suggestion.
For more information please contact:
Amanda Grove (Lead for Youth and Community)
Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org 01384 818145 / 07900 161563
Darren Foley (Participation Officer - Children Looked After and Care Leavers)
Darren.email@example.com 01384 815172 / 07827 836969
Make A Difference and Our Say Our Way
Siobhan Lloyd (Youth Participation Officer)
Siobhan.firstname.lastname@example.org 01384 818026 / 07773 960401