Background Tŷ Hafan hospice supports children with life-shortening conditions and their families. Historically, decision-making within the hospice has utilised a top-down approach. Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, states: children and young people have the right to have their views heard and considered on matters that affect them. Youth social action (YSA) enables children and young people to design and implement meaningful change.
Aim As a children’s and young people’s charity, we want to develop and embed a YSA culture and structure to underpin decision-making in the hospice. Ensuring the inclusion of the views of non-verbal children and young people and those with complex disability.
Methods Apr. – Aug. 2022: Application and award of Children in Need funding for YSA projects. Sept. 2022 – Feb. 2023: YSA-informed recruitment of YSA worker, with children’s and young people’s contributions spanning funding allocation to notifying successful applicant. Mar. 2023 – present: Scoping exercises, staff training on gathering the views of non-verbal children and young people and children and young people with complex disability, familiarising them with YSA and initial implementation of YSA practice within the hospice.
Results To date, YSA project outcomes include: Easter event designed by children and young people for the children and young people; a hospice mural co-led by children and young people; and partnering with another charity to assist the children and young people in devising a creative piece around a matter that is important to them culminating in a dramatic production where families and education staff will be invited to view. Children and young people have reported an increased sense of ownership and wellbeing, while staff have noted the value in creating opportunities for decision-making to be influenced by children’s and young people’s unique opinions.
Conclusion Implementing a YSA approach within Tŷ Hafan is in its infancy, yet it has already fostered meaningful, children and young people-led change. The funding ends in July 2024 and we hope to evidence the importance and value of embedding a YSA approach going forward.
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