Sunday, 7 February 2010

The power of young voice

Last Thursday the Department of Health held a consultative conference on the future direction of sexual health policy - 'sexual health - worth thinking about'.

One of our young volunteers was invited to be on the panel of speakers at the conference. I was unable to attend the conference in the morning as I was at the NICE meeting on Personal, Social and Health Education. However, as soon as I arrived people started telling me what a brilliant job she had done. Sometimes adult compliments of young people's input can feel patronising, but it was clear this was not the case from the way they talked specifically about what she had said, not just that she had said something. I felt very proud that she was able to do such a good job in front of 400 skilled professionals working in sexual health - enough to make many people quake just thinking about it!

I also felt proud of my team at the national office who have created an office environment that works for the young people so that their volunteering experience is positive and productive for them and the organisation, and enabling such a positive platform for young people to be able to find the power of their voice and their influence.

We now have 10 young people developing their own campaigning work on sexual health. They are particularly interested in pressures. Over the coming months they are going to be taking their ideas and work out with the aim of influencing young people and the adults who work with them. Watch this space.

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