Luton Children’s Community Services want to work with the people who use our services, for them to be involved from the start of any changes and improvements we look to make and help us to improve the healthcare we deliver. This can include completing surveys, participating in competitions and designing art work to attending meetings, participating in interviews and virtual focus groups in addition to other fun activities too. As the Co-production lead it is my role to connect the voice of people who use our services from all ages, backgrounds, communities in Luton to the various opportunities to get involved and most importantly that their voice makes a difference, that it can and does influence change. Before Covid, I would organise groups at our offices, community centres or at youth groups but since Covid I have been organising virtual sessions using computers, tablets, i-pads and mobile phones so you can join in without leaving home!
Projects we have been working on
Young Voices of Luton
In July I launched a group for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities living in Luton, to help us to understand their views on the health care that we deliver. The group is call Young Voices of Luton, a name they chose themselves, and we have been very busy setting the group up, it’s logo, our values, and thinking about what is important to the group so that we can decide our first projects. We have also created a video introducing our members and what we have achieved so far.
Pictured to the left, from top left are Sharon Malupia, bottom left Ibrahim Mahmood, in the middle is Courtney Powdrill, bottom right is Jemma Knight and myself Tabassum Mirza in the top right. The power of listening first-hand, to the experience of people who use our services is un-describable. The impact has resulted in the Luton Mall contacting me to advise me of a hoist that has been fitted in the facilities which now means that Sharon can access the Mall in her own town! We are excited to be collaborating with a local band, Rylands Heath to create a song for the group and our next project is to help young people with ADHD with the changes they experiences when moving up to the next year or next school.
I have also been speaking to parents of children who are on the path to, or have received a diagnosis for their children for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The parents have shared their experiences and are helping us to put a digital resource pack together for parents like them across Luton and Bedfordshire.
Some of the work that I have been involved in includes ChatHealth, a text message service for young people aged 11-19, to ask any questions they may have about their health. Young people told us that the original design of the posters, leaflets and information cards was too dark, the font was difficult to read for someone with Dyslexia and the words were confusing. So we held a competition for young people in Luton and Bedfordshire to design the poster themselves, promoting our ChatHealth Service in a way that would be more meaningful for young people like them. The winning entries were judged by a panel of young people and they told us why they liked the designs they chose. The winning design pictured above, by Andrea aged 10 in Woodlands Middle School, is currently being printed on to posters, leaflets, pens and wrist bands!
If you would like to get involved in projects and meetings, or join the Young Voices of Luton, then please do get in touch with me on email@example.com for a conversation and to find out more.
Tabassum Mirza, Co-production Lead, Luton Children’s Community Services.