Young Listeners project blog
By Lindsey Fish, Healthwatch Dorset Youth Engagement Officer – August 2021
In spite of their own commitments, changes in circumstance, and dealing with a national pandemic, our Young Listeners have been busy throughout the summer, successfully engaging with many other young people.
I recently had the pleasure of joining Young Listener Kate when we visited the Horse Course at Weymouth to meet a group of young people. I had only seen Kate’s head on screen before, so it was great to finally meet her in person.
Kate has attended training and contributed to engagement design virtually, so she was fully prepared and confident to conduct the listening process with the young people at the Horse Course.
After I had introduced the project, the adults withdrew to allow Kate to conduct the listening directly with the young people. It is interesting to note that while the young people were inhibited and shy with me, their reaction to Kate was completely different. They were fully engaged, animated and very open about sharing their experiences of health and social care services in Dorset.
This endorses so clearly why we are using a peer-to-peer engagement approach to understand young people’s health and care experiences and ideas. The project has been designed and run by young people for young people, and this is an entirely different, rich and powerful experience.
Well done and thank you Kate! And thanks also to Harriet Laurie from The Horse Course.
The Horse Course, Weymouth
The Horse Course in Weymouth work with young people from eight years old, families and adults. They help at least 500 extremely troubled people each year. There is no charge to those who use the service and funding comes from a mix of commissioning and charitable grants/donations. They also provide Alternative Provision for young people out of education, accredited qualifications (in partnership with Weymouth College), and supported volunteering through their ‘Working Wellies’ project.