Dechaun Malcolm, children’s rights and participation officer and chair of Speakerbox made a presentation to the committee as follow:
Outline of purpose
Empowering, upskilling and preparing children and young people to self advocate and amplify the voices of all care experienced children and young people.
76% increase in young people’s engagement compared to the last highest recorded back in 2018-19.
Positive outcomes for children and young people
Details of the opportunities provided by Speakerbox for young people including:
· Developing and acquiring a new skill
· Making and sustaining new positive friendships
· Feeling more confident to self-advocate
· Feeling more confident to speak in meetings
· Improved understanding of their rights
· Improved emotional well-being
· Decrease in loneliness and isolation and
· Improved aspirations and career paths.
Speakerbox part of the advertising campaign to recruit new foster carers and were part of the animation project. The series of adverts were launched on the 6 April 2023 at the South London Gallery.
Speakerbox launched their “I am” identity campaign on 11 April 2023, with the view of inspiring social work professionals to think more openly and creatively when supporting children and young people with being their true selves.
In recognition of her contribution to looked after children and young people Speakerbox presented an award to Usha Singh, virtual school headteacher at the committee.
Plans for campaigning included:
· Sending out monthly bulletins to social work teams
· Film and young peoples voices to be imbedded into future training
· Attending service days to raise more awareness and
· Encouraging more children and young people to engage via Magazine.
Let’s Talk about Racism
On 13 April 2023 Speakerbox attending the ‘Let’s talk about Racism’ workshop run by lecturers at Goldsmith’s university. The young people had to share and talk openly about their different experiences and came away acquiring new strategies of how to appropriately respond to negative experience of racism. Some of these attendees now plan on co-designing and co-facilitating future workshops with Goldsmith’s.
Looking Ahead for 2023-24
1. Rebrand and develop website so can reach more children and young people
2. Push forward with campaigning
3. More young people upskilled to recruit and train social worker workforce
4. Improved engagement with under represented groups
5. Mentoring opportunities for care leavers (to mention young people).
Comments arising from presentation
· Acknowledgement of the ‘awesome’ growth of Speakerbox and checking they have the necessary support
· Welcomed the award given and the positive appreciation of the work that is taking place
· Reference to the second children rights officers that will shortly be starting work and the idea muted about possible apprenticeships/training in this area for young people for these roles in future, mentioning the work that was already being undertaken with their contribution to interview panels and training.
That the following actions be agreed:
1. A meeting to be set up with Councillor Jasmine Ali, cabinet member with regeneration portfolio, relevant children and adult services officers (Helen Woolgar/Alasdair Smith), the council’s director of planning and growth with Mountview to ensure local looked after children and young people can benefit from this facility and the provision within the community.
2. Work to be undertaken looking at the provision of a space for Speakerbox to call home, to be able to socialise in a safe environment and display artwork/awards. Helen Woolgar to look at with the possible establishment of a working group to examine.