What’s it like being a young person using health, social care and wellbeing services in Dorset, and what changes do young people want to see?

That’s what Healthwatch Dorset wants to find out, so they are recruiting young volunteers aged 16-25, to design and deliver an important and influential new Young Listener’s project.

The volunteer Young Listeners will be trained and supported to gather feedback from other young people about their health and social care experiences and about their ideas for how services could work better for Dorset’s young people.  Key themes will then be identified, and findings will be shared with those who make decisions about health and social care services in the county.

The project has been designed to fit with Covid-19 restrictions.  Online and virtual engagement techniques and resources will be used, with face-to-face training and engagement events planned for later in the year as this becomes possible.

Healthwatch Dorset Manager, Louise Bate, said: “We know that services become more effective when they listen and adapt to feedback from the people they support.  We want to make sure that children and young people from across the county can directly influence the health, social care and wellbeing services that they use.  So, we are recruiting and training Young Listeners to talk to local young people about their experiences and their ideas for change.”

The Young Listeners project is being led by Healthwatch Dorset Youth Engagement Officer, Lindsey Fish, who said: “Our Young Listeners will help design this project to make sure that we explore the issues that are important to young people, in ways that they feel comfortable, confident and connected with.  As well as being part of an inspiring new project that brings positive change to health and social care in Dorset, our Young Listeners will acquire a variety of new skills and knowledge, about the health and care sector, interviewing techniques, leadership, engagement, and creativity.  They will also gain valuable experience, which will look great on their CV and benefit them personally.”

Healthwatch Dorset wants to recruit volunteer Young Listeners by the end of February, from across the county, from a wide range of backgrounds, and with varied health, social care and wellbeing needs, experiences, and interests.

Find out more

If you are aged 16 to 25 and interested in volunteering, or if you work with young people and want to find out how to get involved, visit our project page or contact us.

Download and share the Healthwatch Dorset Young Listeners poster to promote the project and volunteering opportunity and follow the project on social media (#YoungListeners).