Call out for young volunteers age 16-25 – Join us and help make Dorset’s health and care services work better for young people

Hi, I am Lindsey Fish, Youth Engagement Officer for Healthwatch Dorset, and I run our Young Listener Project which we launched in January.

We’re aiming to recruit around 10 volunteer Young Listeners, aged 16 to 25, from different backgrounds across Dorset.  They will listen to other young people’s experiences of health and social care services in Dorset and have a chance to report their findings to the people who make decisions about health and care services in the county.

From speaking with young people, it’s clear that, in general, some don’t feel listened to, and it’s always easier to talk with someone from your own peer group.  So, I’m really enthusiastic that this is going to be a powerful way to hear what young people want to say about the services they’ve used.

Months of making contact with those who work with young people across Dorset has paid off.  Our recruitment drive is going well, and I’m really encouraged by the number of applications we’ve received from young people who want to get involved.  Although, in many ways, this isn’t a surprise, as it’s such a cool opportunity.

Aside from the chance to gain, among other things, accredited training, a professional reference, and experience to include on their CV, the ethos of the project also means it’s an exciting role.  Our Young Listeners will have real input into the design of the project.  They will gain training they feel they need, they can be creative around how to conduct the ‘listening’s’, and they will decide collectively on how they would like to report on their findings, after pulling out the key messages.

It’s really important to me that the process for applying to become a Young Listener with Healthwatch Dorset is encouraging and inclusive.  I’ve followed up several applications already with an informal chat, and it’s been great to listen to the different motivations behind wanting to become a young Listener.  I’ve been impressed by the integrity shown by those who want to use their background and experiences to make a difference to other young people.

To make sure the group is representative, at the moment, we would particularly like to hear from applicants who are male or who live in North Dorset.

I encourage anyone reading this, who hasn’t applied, to contact me if you’d like to know more about this role to drive positive change for young people in Dorset.

For more information:

Phone: 0300 111 0102
Contact: Lindsey Fish, Healthwatch Dorset Youth Engagement Officer (available Thurs/Fri)
Email: lindsey.fish@healthwatchdorset.co.uk

Visit the Young Listeners project page