The voices of more than 110 disabled young people from across the Scottish region of Dumfries and Galloway are calling to politicians, statutory and third-sector organisations, schools, and the wider public to listen to them.
Their goal is to understand, support, and celebrate their significant roles in society.
Youth Matters Report: Insights and Findings:
Spearheaded by a dynamic team of six disabled young people with a range of interests and experiences, the Youth Matters Report has been launched in May 2023 and is currently being circulated. This report offers valuable insights into the findings from the Youth Matters Conference, which the young people planned, led, and co-delivered in November 2022. Over the past six months, the youth have worked diligently to collate, evaluate, and write this significant piece of work in preparation for its publication.
Empowering Disabled Youth: The Youth Matters Conference:
The Youth Matters Conference held in Dumfries in November 2022 provided a platform for over 110 disabled young people to express their ambitions and the challenges they face. Through six workshops and full conference sharing sessions, these young individuals made individual contributions and recommended areas to focus on for change.
Bridging the Gap: Expert Listeners:
Thirteen Expert Listeners from relevant statutory and third sector organizations were invited to attend the conference. The young people were empowered to speak, and these experts listened, reflected, and committed to acting on the insights gained from the young delegates.
Engaging Decision-Makers: Urging Action on the Report:
The Youth Matters Steering Group now expects key decision-makers across Scotland to read the report and understand the views and recommendations put forth by the disabled young people. This understanding will foster stronger connections and enable decision-makers to make inclusive choices that allow young people with additional support needs and disabilities to live fulfilling lives as adults and equal citizens.
Launch Event: Celebrating Youth Matters and Discussing Workshop Findings:
To mark the launch of the report, a celebratory event was held at The Usual Place on 3rd May. Members of the Youth Matters Steering Group expertly compered the event, inviting guests to discuss the findings from each of the six workshops with the young leaders. The evening concluded with a panel Q&A session with the Steering Group, attended by nearly 100 professionals from the statutory and third sectors.
Establishing a Network for Change: Connecting Disabled Youth in Scotland:
The original conference received strong support from policy makers and opinion formers in Dumfries & Galloway and across Scotland. Now, the Youth Matters Steering Group calls upon these organizations and politicians to read their 48-page report and pledge to act on the findings. This initiative has created a network that connects young people with additional support needs and disabilities in ways not seen before in this part of Scotland.
Looking to the Future: Rights and Wellbeing of Disabled Children and Young People:
Finlay Anderson, MSYP and a member of the Youth Matters Steering Group, emphasizes that the Youth Matters initiative allows young people to think creatively about the changes and improvements needed to enhance their lives. It establishes a strong foundation for ongoing work and change in the months and years ahead. The focus is now on the positive possibilities that lie in the future.
Call to Action: Download and Engage with the Youth Matters Report:
Disabled young people are calling upon everyone involved in their lives and the wellbeing of future generations to download and read this significant report. By working together, positive change can be achieved. Copies of the report, including the full version, highlights, and an easy-read version, can be downloaded from www.theusualplace.org/youth-matters including the full report, highlights and an easy-read version.