Dorset Youth campaigners claim two regional awards

Picture shows Laurence Hayward, member of Dorset Youth Parliament, Finley Wyer, Dorset Young Researcher, and Melissa Garanowako, Member of Dorset Youth Parliament.

Dorset Youth Council and a team of Dorset’s young researchers have won two regional (South West) awards.

The team of young researchers claimed the British Youth Council’s (BYC) Youth Voice Star Award for Young Campaigner of the Year and Dorset Youth Council has claimed best Youth-led Organisation or Project for its ‘Dorset Youth Voice Summit’ project.

Both awards mean that young people from Dorset will be invited to London to take part in a national awards ceremony, for which both projects have now been shortlisted as a result of being a regional winner.

Last year 24 of Dorset’s Young Researchers surveyed nearly 3,000 young people for their views on social isolation, their own aspirations and volunteering, before presenting their research to 87 decision-makers including local and national politicians, directors of services, budget holders, headteachers and businesses.

As a result, and based on what young people wanted:

a new staff member was hired to look at social isolation in young people with learning difficulties and disabilities

family information services have made their websites more youth-friendly

there has been a successful bid for funding to support building academic resilience in secondary schools, offer employability skill sessions, and create additional information and resources for parents, young people and schools to support their careers decision making

The researchers are continuing their good work this year by asking nearly 5,500 young people what matters to them in 2019 when it comes to mental health, emotional wellness and healthy relationships.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for education, learning and skills, said: “We are immensely proud of the work that Dorset Youth Council and Dorset’s young researchers are doing with young people across the county.

“Their projects help shape services and give young people a voice on decisions that affect them.”

Dorset Youth Council and the Dorset Young Researchers are supported by Participation People and funded by Dorset County Council.