This week, children and young people helped launch a document that will shape the way Somerset County Council and its partners support them over the next three years.
The voices of children and young people have been central to the creation of the Children and Young People’s plan for 2019-22 which outlines the challenges and dangers they face.
Supporting children and young people, keeping them safe and improving their lives, is one of the most important roles the Council and its partners in health and the police undertake.
The plan is there to help them achieve this and highlights issues such as exam stress, difficulties in education, lack of opportunities, bullying, abuse, exploitation, poverty and self-harm and family problems.
Children and young people from across Somerset – many of whom attended today’s launch – took part in a series of work shops and helped draw up the plan and set its priorities.
The plan will inform and focus the efforts of the Council, Avon and Somerset Police and Somerset NHS with the aim of improving the lives of children and young people by strengthening families and communities and tackling the numerous challenges they face.
The priorities chosen by children and young people and outlined in the plan covered better health provision and access to affordable activities to support health and wellbeing, support for parents, useful training and social skills, and ensuring schools and colleges were safe places.
The Plan’s overall vision is for Somerset’s children and young people to be happy, healthy and preparing for adulthood.
Somerset County Council’s Director of Children’s Services, Julian Wooster said: “The plan is critical for Somerset, it really focusses on the challenges facing families bringing up children.
“It’s so important we provide families with the right level of support to succeed in life and to bring up children so they can participate fully in education and other activities to prepare them for adulthood.”
Sandra Corry, Director of Quality and Patient Safety at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “One of the key things we’re doing in health is improving access to mental health services for young people and ensuring help is available at an earlier stage.
“We want to prevent young people possibly ending up in A&E because they have self-harmed.
“We want our GP practices, the Council and Public Health to really wrap services around the child and young person and how we support parents.”
Superintendent of Avon and Somerset Police, Mike Prior added: “This plan is all about giving children and young people the best possible start in life.
“We want everyone in Somerset to grow up safe, secure and looking to the future, able to contribute to society, make the county their home and in turn bring their children up here too.”
You can read the plan in full here