Key messages from children and young people from across North Wales have been turned into an engagement ‘recipe book’ for organisations to ensure they are treated fairly and have a voice.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has set out on a mission to build a Children’s Charter based on the United Nations Convention (UNCRC) Rights of the Child. The Charter is a set of standards that organisations work to, to make sure children and young people are treated fairly and have a voice.
Over the summer children and young people of North Wales attended large scale events, in which 900 primary school children took part to give their opinions and feelings on what really matters to them.
Following these events a North Wales Engagement Recipe book has been created from the messages of the children and young people. The recipe book hopes to provide knowledge and insight into what matters to young people, and to support organisations across North Wales in creating their own promises of standards and values for the children and young people accessing services and supporting future generations.
The health board’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Neurodevelopment Services, leading on the development of the Charter, also visited high schools across the region.
Jane Berry, Patient Experience Lead CAMHS, said: “When children and young people were asked about kindness and being a good adult the themes from each seemed to link very closely. Young people told us they thought kindness was about being nice, supportive, caring, and respectful and being loved and we can show kindness by being helpful, happy, and listening, empowering and believing in young people.
“We found Children and young people felt being a good adult encompasses all of the aspects of kindness, there is also an expectation adults would be mature, responsible and authoritative while looking after them and providing for their basic needs.”
During the event the children and young people were asked what messages they would share to decision makers. These were:
Listen – their opinions are important and help to influence decisions
Comfort, support, believe in them and make time for them.
Treat as equals, work together and show them respect
Talk to and include young people
Motivate and provide opportunities
Be fair and have patience
Make good choices
Model good behaviour and inspire young people
Jane added: “Similarly, we found there were close links between what children and young people’s communities meant to them and what makes them feel well and positive. When discussing their community’s they spoke about places they can go to play, learn and socialise with the people they know and care about; home, family and friends homes, schools, libraries, outdoors/in nature and youth clubs.
“They spoke about the importance of feeling safe in those spaces, inclusivity, team work, being part of something bigger and that these places be fun places with laughter. We found children and young people’s communities and the people, places and settings within them played a big role in what supports them to stay healthy. They spoke about taking part in clubs and activities and having awareness of others and the value of friendship.”
All the feedback will inform the North Wales Engagement Recipe book and shape the BCUHB Children’s Charter.