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Our Voice Blog




February 2023




February sees the launch of a new group for elected home educated (EHE) young people in Dewsbury Library. This exciting project, run in collaboration with the Libraries Team will provide a place for children, young people, and their families to connect and link into participation opportunities.

We attended the Designated Safeguarding Lead Network event, to share the key messages we have learned from our response to ‘Everyone’s Invited’. This was great because over 60 schools were in attendance. We were able to campaign children and young people’s ideas to reduce peer on peer sexual harassment and harm. This is all part of the Safeguarding Children Partnership priority, to ‘Promote Healthy Relationships’.

Lewis went to meet Project Search in Dewsbury as part of the Assistive Tech Project and to collaboratively work with the Local Offer Team. Kay linked with Ali, Sammy and the Huddersfield Project Search interns, to look at the SEND Strategy refresh.

Nexus, Thornhill Academy, Batley Girls High School, Endorphins, Project Communities and the Elected Home Ed group have all helped to brand our ‘Cultural Heart’ as part of the Huddersfield Blueprint. Colleagues from our Communications and Marketing Teams have come out to support some of the sessions. Sessions start with the young people at Kirklees College Elected Home Ed group are building a new working relationship with Our Voice.


Susan and Elle continue sessions with Batley Girls and Harry is having great fun at Create.










January 2023




New groups begin at Thornhill Academy. Young people who experience Special Educational Needs and or Disabilities (SEND) will be offered the chance to help with the short breaks review, SEND Strategy refresh and the Assistive Tech Project. A girl’s group will complete the skills building sessions and then can choose the projects they wish to support.

We went to meet young people undertaking recruitment panels at the Youth Justice Service to work collaboratively on an animation. The young people scripted and designed it. We will need to return to do the voice bits in the coming month. It will explain what they have been doing to help shape the service.

Create at Northorpe Hall have just started work on the short breaks review, assistive tech project and SEND refresh. What a fabulous bunch of young people. We are very much enjoying visiting Northorpe Hall weekly for the sessions.

Monthly catch ups continue with Ravenshall working on SEND Transformation and Assistive Tech. We also visited Batley Grammar to reconnect and share the outcomes of the Our Space Grants Panels. Young people would like to visit some of the funded provisions and see how the money has been spent. We will look to connect monthly to develop this and offer other opportunities. Groups have also taken a peep at the questions for the year 9 survey, to see if we have the wording right/questions that make sense.









December 2022




This month we went to say a special thank you to the children and young people at Joseph Norton Academy, that helped us to understand, what the designers should consider in the new build. All the information shared by the groups was reported to the project team. Young people’s ideas have been put on the decision-making matrix, alongside the information from parents/carers and school staff. We can now see what everyone agrees on and where we might need to understand differing needs. We hope this is the start of an ongoing conversation, with the young people, as the new build project progresses. Sessions continue weekly at Batley Girls High, with a focus on developing the skills to be young advisors.









November 2022




This month we’ve been able to share the key messages from the Childrens Emotional Health and Wellbeing engagement, with over 80 colleagues and decision makers. This was at the launch of the new Childrens Emotional Health and Wellbeing Partnership and some very special children and young people narrated a presentation for the event. Once the Partnership is established, there will be the opportunity for children and young people to create a shadow partnership, to work alongside the decision makers.

Work continues to understand young adult loneliness from the young people’s perspective at KC Explorers.










October 2022




Work with Brian Jackson College is changing frequency. The young people have finished up their ideas for the Mill complex we have worked together to create a monthly plan, moving forward.

Engagement for the new Social, Emotional and Mental Health New Build, has been completed this month with children and young people at Joseph Norton Academy. This will help make decisions about the layout and facilities in the new school.

We’ve started preparing the presentation for the Children’s Emotional and Well-being Partnership Event in collaboration with children and young people.









September 2022





Direct work is always slightly quieter in September, while we write up our summer key messages and plan our engagements up to Christmas. We invite new provisions to join in up to our relational programme and volunteer to support service design and review.

A new group of young people started work at Batley Girls High School. The EHE group at Brian Jackson continues. Assistive Tech sessions have started with Ravenshall. The Team at Nexus have invited us in in the coming months.








August 2022





This month we’ve been out and about visiting young people at the Holiday Activity Fund (HAF), ‘Schools Out’ and ‘Summer Blast’ programmes. We’ve visited 38 groups and spoke with over 560 young people. It’s been so much fun. We’ve played football, Harry went Zorbing (Thanks everyone at Deighton Sports Arena) and we’ve started to understand, what makes a ‘Child Friendly Kirklees’.


We’ve built some lovely connections with all the amazing community providers, and we’ll now write up a young people’s feedback report.


We are just sorting our September groups now. We are ready to start with the Nexus team and recruit some new groups to support the Children and Young People’s Well-being Partnership.








July 2022




Well, it’s been a busy month!


We’ve completed a response for the SEND green paper, in partnership with young people. This has been sent to the government. You can see the report, on our ‘reports page’. It’s been really interesting listening to what young people feel would help them achieve their aspirations and goals.


Lewis and Harry have also been very much ‘lights, camera’ action!”, working with the Eco-Ambassadors for Climate Fest 2022.


Work has started, to get to know young people at Brian Jackson College, Heckmondwike. As well as working on developing the new ‘Mill’ site, we will be listening carefully to their idea’s about how we transform SEND services.


Final sessions for the Everyone’s Invited development work and LGBTQ+ service commissioning have taken place this month. We also managed to undertake in some Town Centre Blueprint work too! Time to plan our holiday programme engagement now….








June 2022




Grants panels are our focus this month. We’ve 42 grants applications to assess with 12 groups of young people, across Kirklees. This is to help us understand what young people would fund with the £1 million capital grants funding and why. Once completed, panel feedback will be considered alongside the adult panels, to decide of how the money is spent.


Susan is working hard on supporting young people to help with the recruitment of the ‘Head of Virtual Schools’.


We’ve also built a follow-on project with All Saints Catholic College and Moor End Academy to look at gaining a deeper understanding about some of the key themes in the Everyone’s Invited project. These sessions will run from now until the end of term.


To involve young people who don’t currently use LGBTQ+ services, in the commissioning of future services, we’ve work underway with some students in two provisions. It’s fabulous when young people with lived experience can help us design a service specification and create tender questions. We hope the young people will also help us assess some of the applications too-when the time comes.


This month we’ve connected with the Youth Justice Service, to look how we can offer some participation support and ideas to colleagues. The YJS has already been working hard to establish a participation group, where young people from within the service can help ‘shape’ the offer. We are excited to make the connection.









May 2022




Grants! We are all about training up groups to understand the Our Space, Youth Capital Grants scheme and look at how we can thoroughly and fairly assess them over the next 4 weeks.


We’ve our regular meeting with the SU at The University of Huddersfield to focus on Young Adult Loneliness. We are keen to work with young people, Colleagues in the Council and with partners to understand what solutions and ideas young people suggest to help reduce loneliness.


Work with young people in the Elected Home Ed group continues. We meet fortnightly and the group will help with the grant’s panels and some recruitment.


We meet with lots of Decision Makers this month, to look at the outcomes of the Everyone’s Invited project and how we might make changes based on what young people have said.




April 2022



Our final 6 visits for ‘Everyone’s Invited’ have been completed. This means we’ve visited 15 provisions and spoke directly with 250 children and young people. The focus will now be writing up all  the key messages, for our Decision Makers. It’s been a really interesting project and we are grateful of those who volunteered, being so honest.


Kirklees College and Batley Girls have completed their programmes and received their awards. The Local Offer team came out to visit the Kirklees College group and listen to some of their ideas for the site. All of the groups are keen to support decision making, by holding ‘Our Space Grants Panels’ in June 2020.


Planning begins to establish a new group at Thornhill Academy and a North Kirklees Foundation Skills group. There is also an exciting up and coming project with Brian Jackson College.


Engagement continues with Pivot Academy. KC Explorers and The University of Huddersfield. Pivot have helped create the summary forms for the young people’s grant panels in June. The University of Huddersfield and KC Explorers have helped us understand ‘Young Adult Loneliness’ as part of our aims to reduce this and support those who experience it.









March 2022




Another 5 sessions have taken place for ‘Everyone’s Invited’ in secondary schools this month, across our local authority.


Batley Grammar, year 8 students, Kirklees College Foundation skills students and Batley Girls High School, year 12 students are our latest engagement groups. This means another 35 young people are working towards local youth advisor awards. These groups have done an amazing job of setting interview tasks and scoring applicants for some Children and Families, Managerial posts, this month.


We supported young people to bring their voices to the Children and Young People partnership meeting too. What an amazing job they did! You can see their work on ‘The Local Offer’ website.


We continue to support the development of the 2022 Climate Festival, though the Eco-Ambassador groups.









February 2022




Lewis joined our team-welcome Lewis!


Work on our response to “Every ones Invited” has started. Amy Wadeson from the Safeguarding Children Partnership has worked alongside us to deliver engagement sessions with 94 young people in 5 provisions this month.


Our new Our Voice @ Brian Jackson group has been launched. This offers participation opportunities to young people who are home educated. We had 9 young people come along to the first session…FABULOUS. These sessions are fortnightly and free, so get in touch, if you’d like to come along.


We’ve also pulled together all the information, that young people who experience Special Educational Needs and or Disabilities (SEND) have shared with us, in engagements to date, to share with our key decision makers and OFSTED. This also includes making a special film for the Children and Young People Partnership, with the help of some fabulous young people at Kirklees College.








January 2022





Happy New Year!


Welcome Harry and Salman to the team. We’ve another position to fill and are currently looking for a new team member.


A new Our Voice @ Group has been created with year 12 at Batley Girls High School. We’ve sessions starting with Batley Grammar too and a new fab new enrichment with Kirklees College Xplorers Group.


We’ve finalised a group, for young people who are educated at home…invites are flying out at the end of the month. This will be fortnightly at Brian Jackson House.


We are already booking up sessions for the Safeguarding Project, to explore ‘Peer-on-peer sexual harassment and harm’. 10 senior schools have expressed an interest so far.


We’ve a new tech and virtual reality project starting to explore how we can engage children and young people using these approaches. So this month we’ve been learning about how we can use the equipment. We are hoping to learn lots from the young people who get involved!







December 2021




This month we completed Our Voice @ Training at Batley Girls year 13. We wave them a fond farewell on our weekly meets but will catch up once a month.


The lovely group at Pivot had a ‘Halloweenmas’ session instead of Christmas. We’ve had lots of fun getting to know one another over the last 6 weeks. Now it’s time to start some work. We’ve plans to help the Commissioners and Local Offer in the new year.


The Eco-Ambassadors have developed a competition for the next climate festival…watch this space!


Our Voice @ Groups have helped choose the branding for the new Youth Centre’s which are in development.


We are creating a project with the Safeguarding Children Partnership to respond to ‘Everyone’s Invited’. To understand if young people know how to report peer on peer sexual harassment/harm and if they feel safe to do so. We will be out and about completing this project in the new year.







November 2021





This month has been all about expanding our team! Maria joins us from the University of Huddersfield.


Young people have also helped us interview candidates and choose who will become our new Voice & Influence Workers. Our new team starts in January 2022 (hopefully!). This means 9 more young people have completed recruitment training.


We’ve visited the Brunswick yOUTh Project, to say thanks for all their help with the Mental Health & Wellbeing Project-we took some goodies and had a quick chat about the ‘what next’.


The Mental Health and Wellbeing work, that 121 children and young people supported, has been taken to our Senior Management Team this month. We are now looking at how we now make changes based on the information shared. We will be working with some groups in January 2022, to help shape how we support young people to be happy and healthy.


We’ve met with the Student  Union Networks at the University of Huddersfield. This is to help us understand what makes places, activities and people ‘welcoming’; all part of our inclusion work. This is the first of  the ‘semester catch ups’.


Eco-Ambassador work continues, this month we’ve caught up with Crow Lane and Hepworth groups, who have created some fantastic ideas to pass on to our Climate Commission.


Enrichment with Batley Girl’s Six Form continues. We’ve been completing the Our Voice Advisor training and starting to create a project: we’re looking at inclusion and mental health and wellbeing.


Our Voice Advisor training has started at Luck Lane and Pivot Academy too-we’ve new groups totalling 14 young people, who are just smashing! We can’t wait to see them all soon (and play some more games).








October 2021




Did you know there are two groups for young people with experience of special educational needs and or disabilities (SEND) to support decision making?


This month we’ve been out to see Project Communities and Endorphins: What wonderful groups of young people they are! We’ve started answering the question ‘what do you look for in a support worker’ and have asked how the groups feel about making choices. This is to help create the ‘direct payments’ strategy.


Work with the Batley Girls High School enrichment continues and Samantha Atkinson from our electoral outreach team has visited. We all did a very fun activity about ‘If we ran the country, who would we spend the cash?’…It created a big debate! The group are keen to undertake recruitment training in the next month.


Monthly catch ups continue with our Eco-Ambassadors at Hepworth, Birdsedge and Crow Lane. They’ve started writing to the Climate Commission to introduce themselves. We’ve talked about amazing ways to improve our environment-from seed spreading drones to swapping out chicken nuggets!


Sadly, Michelle left our team this month. Michelle’s now working to help young people who face homelessness. We know Michelle will be super, so we wish her LOTS of luck. We are just about to expand our team-so it’s all about training young people for recruitment panels now…






September 2021




This month we say “goodbye, we will really miss you but enjoy your retirement” to our wonderful Team Manager, Julie.


Woohoo! We’ve put together the feedback from all the wonderful ‘Schools Out’ holiday activities. You can see it here. This gives our Decision Makers a current ‘check in’ with local children and young people.


Young people also shared information about what worked or what could be improved if the Holiday Activity Fund programme runs again. What a success ‘Schools Out’ was for the young people who went along. Meeting sports coaches, making new friends and having something to do, was just brilliant. Young people seem to be ‘stepping out’ and reconnecting following a very different 18 months…It’s all very exciting!


Young people supported the Thriving Kirklees Partnership  to make decisions on their seed grants scheme. Those involved did a truly excellent job, because there was A LOT of applications to consider. Well done!


Our Voice worked with Homes and Neighbourhoods investment programme, to capture the voices of children and young people in Cowlersly to understand how they feel some greenspace would be best used. Although windy (we nearly blew away!) fun was had making new door numbers!


We’ve collated all of the messages from all of the workshops which asked, “What do I need to feel well?” as part of the commissioning of local Mental Health Services. Feedback sheets have been heading out to the 121 children and young people who joined in. The full report will be available soon.





August 2021




Well, we have been busy! This summer we have visited 30 provisions and have been out in our parks and open spaces. We’ve spoken to a whopping 460 young people, face to face (outdoors and socially distanced-remember ‘hands-face-space and fresh air!)


We were lucky enough to join in at some sessions too!


We had great fun playing archery and dodgeball, being arty and bush-crafting! We aimed to connect with as many community providers and young people as we could. We asked young people ‘How are you feeling this summer’ so we could compare with the messages we’ve collected throughout the pandemic. This means we’ve now spoken face to face with over 900 children and young people, to ‘check in’ on their wellbeing, since the first lockdown in March 2020. We’ve engaged a further 685 in the ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ and virtual projects. This has provided our Decision Makers and Leaders with valuable messages, to help us know how to respond as we work towards recovering from the pandemic.






July 2021




This month we have completed training with the Eco-Ambassador groups at Hepworth, Birdsedge First School, Linthwaite Ardron, Crow Lane and Marsden Juniors. All groups now have their certificates and badges to boot! We ate cake and celebrated our success!


The Our Voice Team attended the National Participation Works Conference. A great way to connect with other projects and teams, across the country.


We have worked with Salendine Nook High School Academy, Scisset Middle School and Northorpe Hall Family Trust’s newly formed participation group, to support the Commissioning of local Mental Health and Wellbeing Services.


The Night Owls service is live. You can find out more. Here


Work continues to support the Our Voice @ Ravenshall group to continue shaping our Local Offer, we’ve started to storyboard a film project for when everyone returns in September…





June 2021




It’s all been about what keeps us happy and healthy this month.

We’ve kickstarted the workshops to involve young people in the commissioning of local mental health and wellbeing services. So far, we have visited Kirklees College, Lowerhouses C of E J, I & EY school, the Care Leavers Forum, The Base, Children in Care Council, Luck Lane and Woodside Green Share Academies.


Night Owls development work continues with the regional steering group to support the development of an out of hours mental health support service.


Ravenshall School KS3 group have completed their training sessions and have their certificates and badges. We will now look at starting a project for the Local Offer, you can see all their work to date, here.


We have had a virtual tour of Castle Hill school. It was fabulous to say ‘hello’ to the young people there. We will be developing a project in partnership, to ensure the young people’s thoughts wishes and feelings can shape our services from September 2021.


Eco-Ambassadors sessions begin this month. Five schools who participated in the Climate Festival want to continue to the conversation. This means there will be up to 60 children completing eco-themed training to support the Climate Commission and influence all sorts of decision making.


We’re still sporting our trainers and walking the streets, parks and open spaces to engage with people on the streets…the vibe is currently good, with young people looking forward to the Summer.





May 2021




Outreach continues, whilst we still work within the safety measures for covid-19. This means we are still regularly visiting parks, open spaces and estates to engage with local young people.


Ravenshall KS4 are now completing virtual training, before they move onto college. We hope we can continue the conversations as the young people adventure into post 16 learning.


Some very special young people who care for others have taken the time to talk very openly and honestly about their experiences. This is so we can understand what young people need from future young carers services. If you want to read these messages, find them here.


The Night Owls service to support young people’s mental health and wellbeing is being developed. We have asked some of our local young people about the name/branding and passed their key messages back to the project team.





April 2021




Outreach sessions continue and so does the virtual project work with KS3 at Ravenshall.


We’ve quite a lot of information to collate from the Climate Festival, so that has been the key focus this month, along side developing a training package to work with the children who want to become ‘Eco-Ambassadors’. What a important job they have! They will be able to support the work of the Kirklees Climate Commission, as well as supporting other projects.






March 2021




Our Climate: Our Voice happened this month! We created the first ever Kirklees virtual climate festival, in partnership with the Children in Care Council and Care leavers forum. The whole aim of the festival was strike up a conversation. Feedback resources were provided for over 1000 children and the magical computer wizardry told us, that at one point 43 different classes or groups were logged on to the festival-that’s up to 1,290 young people! AMAZING.


Involving children and young people in ‘Young Carers Commissioning’, with continues. We’ve completed some group engagements which you can see here, but we will be moving onto some more detailed case studies to support the tender and commissioning process. Thanks to Banardo’s and Kirklees College for all the help with this important work.


We’ve continued to meet with the Children in Care Council and Care Leavers forum to create and shape the Climate Fest. The group has such fabulous knowledge and ideas. The whole thing is shaping up great.


Work begins with Ravenshall School to train two groups of young people to help create our local offer and support decision making.






February 2021




Young Carers workshops took place this February during half term, to capture what young people, who care for others, look for in a support service. Thanks to Banardo’s for supporting the project (click here).


Outreach still continues, with sessions in North and South Kirklees.


The outcome of ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ is available here. The ability to connect with others is the thing most missed by the children we spoke with. Therefore, as we find our way through the pandemic, we should ask ourselves ‘how can we feel connected without seeing others?’ Things like sending things in the post or delivering pictures/parcels to doorsteps and using tech are all great-but also talking about and reflecting on shared experiences might help.


Planning for two very special participation groups is steaming ahead! These specialise in engaging children and young people who experience Special Educational Needs and or Disability through activity and play.






January 2021




Happy New Year!

Were once again in ‘National Lockdown’ and so will be back to outreach- based work, in our parks and open spaces, as well as online engagement. We hope everyone managed to have a relaxing holiday. It’s cold, wet and dark and we aren’t bumping into as many of you all out and about.


We’ve started work with a regional voice group, to support the development of Mental Health Services.


Our Voice has over 600 rainbows with children’s wishes and feelings regarding the C-19 pandemic to collate and thread for display. That will be focus this month. We will share all of the key messages with the Senior Team and Children and Young People Partnership.






December 2020




We’ve created some enrichment packages to offer to our Colleges and Six Forms from January 2021. Those have been shared and we hope to create some groups with college age young people soon.  We’ve also been on lots of icy, windy and wet outreach. We’ve found fewer young people, but still managed to keep a conversation going! The groups we have managed to speak with are cheerful about the school holidays, but uncertain about the coming few weeks in light of covid-19.


We haven’t been able to speak to younger children about how they are feeling and what might be their priorities. We have created ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ in partnership with some of our Primary Schools. Moorlands, Purlwell, Diamond Wood and Birdsedge First school children will all do us a little drawing and let us know “Now 2020 is nearly through, what are you happy to wave goodbye to and what can’t you wait to do?”






November 2020




We’ve started to look at how we understand what makes our communities ‘inclusive’ as we know this is important to our children, young people and decision makers. We’ve been creating some project ideas around this, but as things seem so uncertain around safety and C-19 at the moment, so this might have to be a project that resumes when we are clearer on what is happening. In the meantime, we are making connections with Community Providers and Education Provisions.






October 2020




Outreach, outreach and more outreach! We’ve been lots of places to speak with young people. The key messages from these engagements are here.


Group work has started this month to involve young people in ‘Places to go, people to see, things to do’, the development of our new youth offer. We’ll support 8 focus groups over the next 2 months.






September 2020




Outreach continues as children and young people return to school following Summer. We are making the best of the pleasant nights, warmer weather and the ability to see young people, outdoors, face to face.






August 2020




The fun in the sun and parks carries on! We are reconnecting with young people in outdoor spaces. All the lovely messages they share, will help us to understand the impact of the current pandemic.






July 2020




Yippee! We’ve been making the best of the relaxation of lockdown restrictions, by getting out to all our AMAZING parks and open spaces to speak with as many young people as we possibly can.


We aim to collect all the key messages to see how young people have coped during the covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown. We can share these messages with our decision makers to help us understand how young people are coping though the restrictions, the impact of the pandemic and how we might respond.





June 2020





The Local Offer is our big focus this month. Thanks to Honley High School and PCAN we have been able to share an electronic engagement to shape the Children and Young people’s portal on the site. We know there is more to do, but we acknowledge the limitations of online engagement and the national lockdown measures. You can see the engagement results, here.






May 2020




This month has been all about updating training resources. We don’t know when we will be back in provisions, schools or colleges, because of the pandemic. So, we are creating activities and games, for when we can!


April 2020






Well, we are a month in to the first 3 month ‘lockdown’. Tech is really important to young people-and even more so now, so we are doing some work to see what platforms and tools young people value to ‘stay connected’. This led to us finding out these key messages




March 2020





Our Voice is back!


Michelle and Kay have joined the team…ON THE DAY LOCKDOWN STARTED! It’s an uncertain time and we know engaging with children and young people, when we can’t meet with them is a challenge!


So, we are doing some of the paperwork bits, looking at tech and planning how we ‘get this show on the road’. Watch this space!


Previous Opportunities Newsletters:

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