On Thursday 29th June, the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership Board in Sutton invited young people to present their findings and recommendations on the priority areas of safety, mental health, and inequalities. Over the past year, the Young Commissioners, members of Sutton Youth Board and other young people have engaged in extensive activities, workshops, and surveys to better understand the challenges faced by young people in Sutton. Three of the Young Commissioners, Ela, Joseph, and Sudipta presented to strategic partners from the council, health services, schools, and the police to shed light on the pressing issues and outlined three essential 'asks' for professionals in each area.
Safety: To address safety concerns, they highlighted the need for improved communication and increased police presence in key areas, such as the High Street. They emphasised the importance of enhancing online safety measures and empowering schools to tackle the dangers of social media through additional resources and support.
Mental Health: In the realm of mental health, the young people stressed the necessity of specialists providing presentations in schools and shaping school policies. They called for consistency across all schools in responding to mental health needs, proposing centralised resources, awareness campaigns, and toolkits. Furthermore, they urged changes to the school environment to accommodate students with mental health issues and chronic illnesses.
Inequalities: To address inequalities, the young people advocated for addressing resource disparities among schools to ensure an equal quality of education for all students. They emphasised the importance of improved training for teachers and staff to address discriminatory language based on race and gender. Additionally, they called for the creation of a dedicated LGBTQ+ youth group or forum to provide support and a safe space for LGBTQ+ young people to meet.
The presentation by Joseph, Ela and Sudipta showcased their tireless efforts and the invaluable insights they have gathered through engagement activities, workshops, and surveys. Their 'asks' for professionals highlighted the importance of enhancing safety measures, prioritising mental health support, and addressing inequalities within the community.
Inspired by their recommendations, the board members pledged their commitment to implementing these 'asks' and working towards a brighter future for young people in Sutton. The presentation marked the beginning of a transformative journey, one that embraced youth empowerment and collaboration to ensure the safety, mental well-being, and equality of all young people in Sutton.
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If you are a professional who would like to know more about this work and join the Youth Engagement Leads Network meetings please email the project lead Jenny: firstname.lastname@example.org