Introducing: The Youth Inspect & Advise Group (IAG) The Youth Inspect & Advise Group (IAG) is a youth voice group based in East Sussex which meets regularly with a team of young volunteers to carry out issue-based campaigns with a key focus on emotional wellbeing.
Funded by #iWill via Sussex Community Foundation, we have 14 young volunteers from a wide range of East Sussex schools & Colleges, as well as having young volunteers recruited through youth groups such as the SCDA Newhaven YP’s Forum, the SPFT Youth PPI Café, East Sussex Youth Cabinet, Seaford Youth Forum, CAMHs Download Group and Hastings Youth Council. We are running from March 2021 – October 2021.
Our young people are experienced mental health service-users and youth activists passionate about making change in the world of educational mental health and the Whole School Approach.
A Youth-Led Space for Community Engagement
As a youth voice group we are proud to say that we are led, organised, overseen and championed by young people.
We are a youth-led group, with a 1day a week Youth Participation Worker who is aged 17 (Ed Peasgood, firstname.lastname@example.org ), who coordinates our sessions and oversees this piece of work with support from our project manager and the ESCV leadership team.
We have four Lead Youth Advisors who oversee different elements of this work, including facilitating sessions; mentoring, inclusion & equalities; communications and promotion; and community outreach. These youth advisors steer the group with insight from our wider team of Volunteer Youth Inspectors, who also contribute to leading the group through co-designing our workplan, campaigns and resources.
Our project fits into the wider remit of East Sussex Community Voice to champion the views and voices of service-users and the public, with a specific focus on educational provisions and mental health services among the youth public.
To capture young people’s lived experience and recommendations about East Sussex schooling in the Mental Health Context and the Whole School Approach, with a specific focus on the culture of education and how that impacts pupil wellbeing.
To provide young people with a volunteering opportunity which helps them develop key skills and leadership abilities.
To influence and enact youth-established change to local schools/colleges & services.
To deliver campaigns and activities which will keep the conversation going about young people’s Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing (MHEW), and which will inspire practitioners and local professionals to engage more with young people to capture their voices, as well as to embed some of our youth-designed recommendations into the delivery of their service or professional capacity
Facilitating Social Change in Education and Wellbeing
A key motivation of our group has been to discuss key issues in education with young people and to encourage healthy and supported debate with our young volunteers around education, health, wellbeing and the Whole School Approach.
Throughout our work, our young volunteers have approached, dissected and evaluated broad questions in a succinct, organised, and respectful way, and we have been able to provide our volunteers with a safe space to research and assess these debates.
Key topics embedded throughout include; Sexism and Homophobia in school culture, social media and it’s advantages & disadvantages, teacher labelling & bias, the male mental health crisis, the ethnocentric curriculum and racial abuse, and disengaging with school mental health services.
We are proud of the way that our young volunteers have been able to interweave these discussions into our activities, and we believe that the way that we have approached these issues head-on has meant that our projects have been motivated by an aim to be socially innovative and to develop ‘teaching & learning activists’ within educational settings to actively tackle these topics, all strengthened by young people’s role in bringing about social change, and by our principles of building stronger relationships between young people, schools, families and services.