DVD launch aims to improve meetings

Looked-after young people and care leavers in Aberdeenshire are preparing to launch a DVD aimed at improving the way meetings held about them are run.

It is hoped that the new resource will improve the experience for young people and children who are in local authority care, when they participate in meetings about their own care and support.

It was produced by a group of young film makers, aged between 15 and 20, who are members of the Young People’s Organising and Campaigning (YPOC) Group, a reference group of looked-after young people and care leavers.

Their DVD is designed to complement the “Guide to Meetings” booklet, written by young people for the adults who come to meetings about them, describing what would help children and young people become more involved, and how they can be best supported by adults.

The leaflet, already distributed across Aberdeenshire and beyond, draws on the experiences of more than 50 children and young people who are looked after by the local authority.

The new DVD includes a presentation and also a role play by the young people of how they would consider a bad meeting to go, and what might be involved.

It will be launched at Aberdeenshire Council headquarters at Woodhill House in Aberdeen on Friday, June 29. The Director of Housing and Social Work, Ritchie Johnson, and Robert Driscoll, Head of Children’s Services, will both attend the event, along with councillors and other invited guests.

Caitlin, 17, a member of the YPOC Group, said: “We realised that when you are looked after, you have to go to loads of meetings, and every meeting you go to could dramatically change things in your life.

“We decided we wanted to do something to help the adults involved make meetings better for us so that we can really take part.”

A fellow YPOC Group member, 18-year-old Dale, said: “We have produced the DVD to be used in training events for all the adults who support us at our meetings – social workers, teachers, foster carers and everyone else who come along. We hope it will make things better for all looked after children.”

Jamie, 20, who has been a member of the YPOC Group since it began, said: “We sent out questionnaires to every looked after and accommodated young person over eight, and we got 54 replies. They told us what they thought helped them at meetings and what would make meetings better. We used all that information and our own experiences to put together the Guide and the DVD.”

Chair of the Social Work and Housing Committee, Councillor Karen Clark, said: “It is fantastic to see young people producing a resource which should help to improve their experiences during important meetings about their care.

“It is vital that the voices of looked-after children and young people are heard, and particularly by the adults involved in their care.”

Committee vice-chair, Councillor Alisan Norrie, said: “It is great to see young people using the latest technology to provide a resource to improve the way important meetings are conducted.”