Somerset Young People’s forum ‘The Unstoppables’ have been shortlisted by the British Youth Council for a ‘Celebrating Diversity Award’.
The award is part of the national Youth Voice Star Awards, which will be celebrated on 9 November in London.
The Unstoppables forum is a group of young people aged 13-25 with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). They aim, with the support of Somerset County Council, to increase the voice of children and young people with SEND in Somerset. Over the last few months, the Unstoppables have worked on a range of projects to help young people develop their skills and better prepare them for the future. This included a multi-platform “Access to the Community” campaign to help young people feel more confident to go out and take part in activities in their local area; it also reviewed the way young people get information. The Unstoppables have helped make many important decisions about funding for groups who support children and young people with SEND.
Councillor Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted the Unstoppables have been shortlisted for this award. They are an incredible group of young people who give up a considerable amount of their free time, and work extremely hard to get the voice of children and young people with SEND heard in Somerset.”
Somerset County Council’s SEND team has also a launched a peer support ‘Buddy’ pilot project to match young people with SEND with someone of a similar age and interests to help them to access their local community and do ordinary, everyday things, like any other teenager. The pilot project for this concept has begun and the County Council has recruited 10 ‘Buddies’ from across Somerset.
Each Buddy is offered basic volunteer training and matched with a young disabled person to help them to access something specific in their local community. Somerset County Council SEND team hopes that this experience will be of benefit to both the Buddy and the young person, enhancing confidence and social skills, and providing excellent experience for CV / university application and career paths.
If you are interested in working with young people with SEND as part of our respite programme to help families of disabled children and teenagers, call 0800 587 9900 and ask about becoming a short break carer.
If you are interested in being a ‘buddy’ Check out www.somerset.gov.uk/volunteering for more details on all Somerset County Council’s volunteering opportunities – or https://do-it.org/ for other volunteering opportunities in your area.