Saturday, 6 December 2014

(Young) Voices in my head

I read a lot of Doris Stokes books when I was younger and trying to work out the meaning of life -  or more specifically my life - but this blog is not about Doris.

10 days or so ago young people presented to the Brook board of trustees.  It was mind blowingly well prepared. Their message was clear and simple: We believe that all young people have a right to;
  • sex and relationships education - the type that Brook does in every school 
  • young people friendly sexual health services we can get to within an hour 
  • get access to interactive help using digital platforms 24 hours a day
  • grow up in a sex positive environment that trusts and values them whatever their sexual or gender identity, and whatever choices they choose to make, and whatever their mistakes
  • more opportunities to be involved in participation, volunteering, social action and routes into meaningful, paid employment
They also wanted Brook to train parents so parents understood young people and their sexuality more, and are therefore more confident helping young people as they grow up. 

None of this sounds unreasonable to me.  It all sits within their rights the UK has committed to as set out in the in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified over 25 years ago.

Since Joshua and Lisa's presentation I have constantly had their voices in my head as I discuss different ideas, consider options, strategies and plans about Brook's priorities and participate in external policy and partnership meetings.  It is a helpful discipline to hold those voices in our heads along with increasingly rigorous priority testing - is what I am doing really really going to achieve any of those goals - set to us by our beneficiaries - quickly enough. 

Its too early for new years resolutions but I have made one already - try to identify traditional processes and systems that don't bring about change - where the process gets mistaken for the task - and find other ways to deliver on the objectives set to us by young people.

Doris Stokes said it was a privilege to have voices in her head.  I agree it is a privilege to have the voices of Lisa and Josh on behalf of their peers in my head. I am holding on to them.

On a final note, our teams across the country have been doing some excellent festive health promotion and condom promotion in their waiting rooms - using different colour condom packs to build Christmas Trees and Rudolph.  Its fun and a conversation starter - and young people have responded really well to it.  Without any intention to whatsoever we seem to have upset a few anti choice people and we have been described as anti-life. An odd and inaccurate assertion.

No comments: