Young people from Cheshire East are giving professionals a taste of ‘life in their shoes’ to mark November children’s rights month.
The council dedicates the month of November to raising awareness of children’s rights –
making it clear to children and young people that their opinions and rights are important and that they should be actively involved in decisions that affect their lives.
Cheshire East Council and its partners have been taking part in challenges set by young members of Cheshire East Youth Council.
The challenges feature a range of activities, which include sitting a GCSE exam, living on a £1 budget for lunch per day and retaking a driving theory test.
November children’s rights month is an initiative of the Cheshire East participation network – a partnership of agencies and services, which work with children.
Young people joined in the activities by working with senior managers in children’s services across the council.
Kath O’Dwyer, acting chief executive of Cheshire East Council, was one of a number of staff members who took on a challenge this month by living for a week without access to a mobile phone.
She said: “The challenge gave me a real insight into the experience of our young people who don’t have a phone or data or credit on their phones and how much this can mean that you feel you are missing out.
“As someone who has a personal and work mobile phone and is extremely reliant on both of them, I found the experience extremely ‘inconvenient’ and quite isolating. It made me feel slightly vulnerable not having the means to keep in touch with others or be contacted.”
Councillor Jos Saunders, Cheshire East Council’s cabinet member for children and families, said: “I think this is a brilliant way for people to properly understand that our young people face really tough challenges.
“It’s fairly common for young people to shadow adults at work to give them a taste of what they might expect later in life but it’s less common to see the flip side – adults experiencing what it’s like as a young person.
“There are 105,000 people under the age of 25 living in our borough – that’s nearly one in four of our overall population – so it really is important that we have a better understanding of what children and young people experience in their daily lives.”
For more information on November children’s rights month visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ncrm