Despite the restrictions caused by lockdown, young people in Barnsley have been working hard to make sure that the youth voice is still heard loud and clear.
The work of the council’s Youth Voice and Participation service area is still very much happening and young people are being as proactive as ever given the situation.
Barnsley Youth Council, Care4 Us Council and the Barnsley SEND forum are all still positively engaging via virtual chats and meetings and are continuing to make a difference for young people in Barnsley.
The first ever virtual Youth Council Meeting took place in April, with 18 attendees, including two Youth Parliament members. Among the agenda items was an update on the Police and Crime Commissioner-backed Urban Tree Fund and how it links into the Make Your Mark Campaigns.
Young people have also been giving their views on several local consultations including Barnsley 2030; Network Rail’s new rail link for Barnsley; an SYPTE survey to look at potential new designs for the new young person’s discount card; and an education and exam consultation for the Ofqual and Yorkshire and Humber Youth Work Unit.
They assisted with creating surveys for Active Travel questions that link into the Sheffield City Region Youth Combined Authority.
For the forthcoming mental health awareness week, they created an idea as a group, where young people will look at an act of kindness from the past, an act of kindness during lockdown and then one they can do when out of lockdown This will involve young SEND representatives, the Care4Us Council, Barnsley Youth Council, Remedi, and Barnsley Youth Voice Network.
Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for Children’s Services, said: “In a time of real uncertainty for people of all ages, it’s wonderful to see our borough’s young people continuing to make sure they represent the youth voice. My thanks and respect go to all young people’s groups for their continued commitment and initiatives to maintain links to ensure the voice of Barnsley's younger residents is heard during this difficult time.
“Their knowledge and insight is always welcome and their contributions to how we should deliver our services and those of our partners are always valued.
“Their commitment is commendable and as a council we have pledged to match this through our Children and Young People’s Plan.”