30 Apr Peer Power Experts’ message to Decision Makers
Over the past weeks, our Peer Power Experts have been more active than ever – giving each other support and encouragement in Whatsapp groups, delivering campaign planning sessions on Zoom and becoming increasingly frustrated by the response of services to the current pandemic.
Peer Power Experts are young adults and teenagers with lived experience of social care, justice and mental health services who are committed to voicing issues for and with other young people.
After weeks of airing their frustrations about feeling neglected by services and noticing similarities in their collective experience, they decided to take action. They hatched a plan to write a letter to decision makers. They wanted decision makers to understand their experiences of living through the pandemic and hear their suggestions for how things could be improved.
Jenny, one of our Peer Power Experts drafted a letter summarising the issues that were important to the group. Issues span young people’s experiences of mental health, employment, finance, housing, education, and social care. The letter is therefore relevant and important for decision makers and service providers across all these services.
One of the examples given in the letter is about ‘blanket’ messages being addressed to young people from services or the lack of tailored messages for young people. “There are often messages broadcasted by the face of government officials, there is ‘no one who looks or sounds like us’ as young people, which could heighten feelings of isolation.”
In another example, one of the PPEs – who is care-experienced and last week had to move housing placements – talked about her frustration at being told her housing application has been put on hold for up to 6 months, with no care taken to explain why.
“Upon discussion it seemed that these issues were so obvious to us but we do realise that it’s super important for us to communicate these issues, especially with service providers and decision makers like yourselves… I really hope you download the letter and read it for yourselves and try to understand where we’re coming from” – Jenny – Peer Power Expert
You can hear more from Jenny about why they wanted to write the letter in this short video
The calls from Peer Power Experts in the letter include:
- Mental health support for young people, especially around grief and trauma
- Support for young people on zero hour contracts to pay rent
- Don’t put housing services on hold for young people – putting services on hold without sufficient explanation as to why will only encourage a domino effect on the other issues discussed in the letter
- Access to computers, Wifi and Internet for all young people so they can continue with online education
- More personal communication to young people from key services like GPs and leaving care service and from the government
We will continue to collaborate with our young partners, open up channels and give them opportunities to get their important messages across!