Helen Sinclair, Strategic Lead for Engagement & Participation, Neath Port Talbot Council

Jannine Smith from the Children’s Rights Unit works closely with the local authority and in particular Engagement & Participation Officer Darren Bartley, through the facilitation of various activities and forums for the children and young people of Neath Port Talbot. Some of the work is through focus groups with children and young people to include workshops with the Commissioner’s Office, through to the maintenance of the Junior Safeguarding Board, online quizzes and activities, sessions with Looked After Children & Young People (YoVo), and various consultation sessions to name a few.

The CRU has developed a bespoke ‘Children’s Rights into practice’ training workshop for professionals in the community team. The 1.5-2 hour session includes an overview of children’s rights and the UNCRC, a workshop element that focuses on the themes of the Charter, case studies, and barriers and solutions to implementing children’s rights in practice. Four workshops with approximately 30 health care support workers from the Community Team have been undertaken in 2019. A report was produced and shared with SBUHB staff to look at emerging themes, examples of good practice and highlight areas that may need attention. We had some lovely feedback from the day, every one of them commented on how much they enjoyed the session on Children’s Rights, there were also comments about how they could take this into practice.

We really appreciate the relationship that NPTC Group of Colleges and more specifically our Student Support department have with CRU. Student voice is a key component to the overall success and enrichment of student experience at out colleges. The CRU help us attain this through providing a bespoke array of training and workshops to equip learners with the skills to fulfil their roles as ambassadors and officers. CRU provide us with the opportunity to review aspects of course content every year in order for us to accommodate the needs of the student role or changes to our learner expectations.

Over the past 12 months the Children’s Rights Unit has continued to support NPT Children’s Services deliver a service centred around Children’s Rights. The CRU has assisted in embedding a Children’s Rights approach in our daily roles. Direct work with some of the most vulnerable children has been undertaken to raise awareness of the UNCRC and give children a voice. The CRU is a valuable partner.

Neath Port Talbot CRU take a children’s rights based approach in all they do. [This report showcases how] CRU have empowered children and young people to have a voice in matters which affect them, to access support and training to improve their skills, and to take an active part in the work of organisations making decisions which affect children and young people. The CRU are also valued and active members of our Community Ambassadors programme which helps me keep up with children’s rights work in communities across Wales.

NPTC Group of Colleges work with CRU on a range of student leader training each academic year, including Student Union Officer induction training, student class representative training, and accredited student governor training. CRU provide a bespoke service, tailoring the training content to meet the requirements and learning needs of the audience. Their approach is collaborative and flexible, and training is delivered in a friendly and engaging way. Our students always enjoy the training they provide and we are pleased to work with them each year.

The ‘Preparing to be a Board Member’ training was so much fun, I gained a true understanding of what the role entails and this has inspired me to hopefully become a charity board member in the future!

Vicky was so kind and really down to earth! She explained everything so well and I really appreciated her feedback after the mock meeting.

I thoroughly enjoyed completing the ‘Preparing to be a Board Member’ qualification. It was fun, interactive, and interesting. I learnt valuable skills which have helped me with my role as Chair of BAYouth, and I would encourage all members of an advisory panel to complete the training – it is more than a qualification because it is a way of increasing the participation of young people in a wide range of voluntary roles.