Young people of Herts and west Essex get together to help improve NHS services

Published: 17 October 2023

A group of people smile at the camera, including a man in a blue shirt next to a teenage boy, four teenage girls and then a second boy. They are all wearing lanyards
Paul Opoku, Children and Young People Engagement Lead for the ICB, welcomes the new Youth Council ambassadors

For the first time the health and care services in Hertfordshire and west Essex are gathering the voices of young people to help improve their experience of using local services.

Young residents from across Herts and west Essex were invited to apply to become members of the ICB’s first ever Youth Council to offer a vital insight and provide crucial first hand experience into the needs and concerns of children, teenagers and young people when it comes to health and care issues.

Nine members aged between 12 to 19 years helped launch the group with more ambassadors set to join in coming months.

The first meeting was a chance for them to get together and work with health professionals from organisations including the Hertfordshire’s Children and Young Person’s Mental Health Service and the Patient Association to share their views on local mental health and wellbeing services.

A member of the council said: “That was a fun meeting – I joined the ICB Youth Council because I want to be able to share my personal experiences, express my ideas and opinions and to be able to discuss them with like-minded people.”

Paul Opoku, Children and Young People (CYP) Participation Lead for Herts and West Essex said: “I was so pleased to get the youth council going to provide a platform for young people’s voices to be heard, with the opportunity to directly collaborate with health professionals.

“We want to increase this way of working with young people and support the ICB to become a system leader in people participation.”

The group next meets on 7 November when Elliot Howard-Jones, Hertfordshire Community Trust Chief Executive Officer will tell them about what it’s like to be a CEO of a Community Health Trust.

They will also share their thoughts on how Essex Child and Family Well Being Service’s funding can be best used for services to specifically help support young people.

If you or a young person you know living in Hertfordshire and west Essex  would like to help improve local services and become an ICB Youth Ambassador, email the CYP Team to find out more.