Young people in Leeds have revealed their wish list for the city’s future ahead of a new exhibition opening this week.
A city-wide consultation run by Child Friendly Leeds asked young people all across the city to highlight the key issues and subjects they felt were most important to them and what they wanted to see Leeds focus on in the coming years. They highlighted better mental health support and climate change action along with feeling safe in the places they socialise and better communication of what’s on offer in their local area and across the city. The Child Friendly Leeds Wishes will now be showcased in a special two-week exhibition taking place at Leeds City Museum from Tuesday 12 to Sunday 24 July. The exhibition will be open from 10am to 2pm on weekdays and 11:30am to 2:30pm on weekends.
Children and young people are encouraged to attend the exhibition, where they will be able to take part in activities to help draw and describe what the wishes mean to them. These images will then be used to raise awareness of the wishes across the city. Entry to Leeds City Museum is free. A city-wide initiative to make Leeds the best city to grow up in, when Child Friendly Leeds was launched in 2012, there was extensive consultation to learn what children and young people felt would make Leeds a child friendly city.
The views of 14,000 children and young people were used to identify key themes and develop 12 child-friendly wishes. The wishes, alongside the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, were the founding principles that guided the initiative from the outset. The wishes and the voices of children and young people have influenced citywide strategic planning and priorities and have led to numerous partnership projects, with Child Friendly Leeds ambassadors forming from voluntary and community groups, businesses, education settings and public sector partners.
Examples of how the wishes have made life in the city better for children and young people include a collaboration with West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the bus operators in West Yorkshire to deliver cheaper public transport and a simplified fare structure, in response to young people’s feedback. There has also been an increase in spaces, places and activities on offer to families in the city centre thanks to the Child Friendly Leeds City Centre Partnership Project, which won a National Leadership Award for Public Services in 2020.
Celebrating its 10th birthday in 2022, Child Friendly Leeds has reviewed the feedback from local and city-wide consultations, surveys, and ballots over the last three years. Capturing the views of 80,000 children and young people in the city to identify the current top issues and priorities. The Child Friendly Leeds team and Voice Influence and Change team then worked in partnership with children and young people from Leeds Youth Council, BARCA, SEND Youth Forum, Youth Service, as well as two primary schools to develop the wishes for a new generation of children and young people in the city.
The 2022 Child Friendly Leeds Wishes are:
- Children and young people know how and where to get support for their mental health and wellbeing if they need it.
- Children and young people have safe spaces to play, hang out and have fun.
Children and young people express their views, feel heard and are involved in decisions that affect their lives.
- Differences are celebrated in Leeds, so children and young people feel accepted for who they are. They do not experience bullying and discrimination.
- Everyone takes more action to protect the environment from climate change.
- Children and young people can travel around the city safely and easily.
- Children and young people know about different things to do and places to go across the city. They enjoy different cultural experiences including art, music, sport, and film.
- Leeds is a city that reduces the impact of poverty and helps families who need it.
- Children and young people have the support and information needed to make healthy choices. They have opportunities for regular physical activity.
- All children and young people are in learning settings that meet their needs.
- Young people have access to a wide range of work experience, employment, and volunteering opportunities.
- Leeds is an inclusive city for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Councillor Fiona Venner, executive member for adult and children’s social care and health partnerships said:
“To ensure that Leeds can be as child-friendly a city as possible, it’s crucial that we understand the key issues facing children and young people in the city. As Child Friendly Leeds turns 10 years old, it makes perfect sense to revamp and refresh the wishes that help drive the council’s ambition to make Leeds the best city of children and young people.
“I’d like to say thank you to the children and young people who participated in consultations with the council, as well as the groups and schools involved in creating the new wishes. I encourage children and young people to visit the exhibition taking place at Leeds City Museum and share what these wishes mean to them.”
More information on the Child Friendly Leeds Wishes can be found at www.childfriendlyleeds.wordpress.com
Further details on the two-week exhibition can be found at www.leedsinspired.co.uk