Healthwatch was created by the Health and Social Care Act, 2012. It helps to ensure that the views and feedback from patients and carers are an integral part of the design and delivery of local services.
Young Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire (YHWCB), associated with Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire, provides opportunities for young people in the area to come together and engage with other young people and adults to discuss issues surrounding health and social care.
YHWCB has run a series of campaigns, activities and projects, led and developed by the young volunteers. It welcomes volunteers from 13-24 years of age, with a wide range of ideas and who are keen to have their voices heard.
Amy Eymor, YHWCB youth engagement and volunteer officer, said:
“We currently have 27 young volunteers, aged between 13 and 18-years-old from schools across Central Bedfordshire.
“We meet once a month and it gives the group a safe space to discuss health issues freely to so as to make a difference to young people in Central Bedfordshire.
“This ensures that local decision makers, and health and care services put the experiences of young people at the heart of their work.”
Recently, six volunteers visited Bedford Hospital to report on the services provided to young people. Amy said:
“The six reported back on what was good and what needed improvement. As part of the report they gave a presentation to the hospital board.
“Not only are they helping to develop the health service in this area, they are also gaining valuable life experiences to help them when applying to universities or for jobs.
“I am immensely proud of the young volunteers within Young Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire , for the work they have done and continue to do, even in the recent circumstances.”
One of the Young Healthwatch volunteer took part in a review of Luton Sexual Health Clinic. As a result, the clinic is reshaping its digital approach to connect with young people.
This week, YHWCB announced that its work had been recognised by the Investing in Children Membership Award™ Scheme.
The Investing in Children Membership Award™ Scheme recognises and celebrates examples of imaginative and inclusive practice with children and young people.
Organisations that apply for the award have to demonstrate dialogue with young people which leads to change. However, children and young people have to provide the evidence for the organisation and endorse the membership report because it is a children’s and young people’s award.
Investing in Children has developed a range of different ways in which children and young people are supported to say what they want to say, and help to improve services used by them, and by discussing their ideas with those who run the services. YHWCB has now joined with over 500 Investing in Children members across the UK and Ireland.
Young people who are keen to make a difference in health and social care in Central Bedfordshire and are interested in young people’s rights and wellbeing can find out more here.
Volunteers will get the chance to:
- Meet new people
- Get valuable work experience
- Have your say and become part of the decision-making process
- Help or support a cause (such as young people’s mental health)
- Learn more about Healthwatch and young people’s rights
- Develop their real-life skills