The Flying High project, supported by Barnardo’s, is a group of young people, aged 16-25, who have disabilities and additional needs. The group represents and supports young people to get the lives they want.
Members of the group are regularly involved in consultations and other initiatives to improve children and young people’s services. They attend and present at meetings and events, including awareness-raising sessions for professionals, and have been involved in recruitment processes for staff.
As well as giving their own views, members of the group also go into schools and other forums to find out what other young people think and make sure their voices are heard. Students have said that they like other young people with disabilities visiting them at school, and the visits have also provided an opportunity to inform children and young people about new service developments such as education, health and care plans and the local offer.
One young person who has been a long standing member of the Group says:
“I got an opportunity to be involved with an amazing wonderful project that empowers young people – the Flying High Group. I have watched the group grow from five young people to 18 and seen group members come out of their shell and develop confidence and feel empowered. I’ve always had to stand on my own two feet within the care system and take what’s thrown at me as a disabled person – I feel proud that the Flying High Group is still running after six years and is still making a difference for disabled people.”
The Principle Disabled Children’s Services Officer for North Yorkshire County Council says:
“The Flying High Group is the place that people go to for advice and to receive feedback about their work with disabled young people. In the last couple of years the Flying High Group has helped us consider how we improve transitions, the moving on pack for people going through transition, the buddying up pilot in Harrogate and making a young people friendly version of the Local Offer. The group continues to work with local schools around short breaks and inclusive activities … We really couldn’t do without the group as we try to improve services for young people.”
This example was originally featured in the 'My life, my support, my choice' narrative published by National Voices and Think Local Act Personal (TLAP).