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Young people joined Paul Blomfield MP for a Big Conversation

Young people joined Paul Blomfield MP for a Big Conversation

Tash Bright No Comment

Members of Sheffield’s Youth Cabinet and UK Youth Parliament joined young people at Sheffield Futures for a Big Conversation with Paul Blomfield MP. The Big Conversation is an annual community consultation with a variety of audiences.

On 20th September, the Big Conversation came to Sheffield Futures on Division Street for a special event for young people. Youth Councillor for East Sheffield, Fozia Sultana, chaired the event, helping young people to form and ask questions about the issues that matter to them.

The conversation tackled big issues such as ‘making the invisible, visible’. This is one of the issues on the current youth consultation Make Your Mark, aimed at helping invisible illnesses be more recognisable, through better education. Fozia Sultana said: “There should be more opportunities for support when people are suffering with illnesses which are physically invisible.”

The groups spoke about issues facing young carers, many of whom do not realise that they are carers. One young person said: “there should be more support from the Government for young carers, both emotional and physical support. One practical way that young carers could be helped is with free or heavily discounted travel passes, this would be one less thing for young carers to think about.”

 One young person said: “We need a more diverse curriculum. Schools needs to include LGBT+ in sex education lessons, and to have a focus on emotional relationships, not just physical.”

 The conversation also focussed on mental health, with one young person describing their experiences of mental health services. They said: “In the past I gave up trying to access mental health services because there isn’t enough provision for everyone who needs it. There also needs to be a way for young people to access support at earlier stages, rather than when they’re at crisis point.”

Paul Blomfield MP listened to the young people, and said: “I have been given a completely new insight about young people’s mental health which I have never understood before and this has been very useful.”

After calling the event very interesting, Paul concluded: “A common theme in the discussions has been changes to the curriculum to prepare young people for life. Schools are currently measured by success in exam league tables and we could help to instruct schools to include education about life skills young people need for their futures.”

 “Your voice is a very important part of setting my priorities. Thank you all for contributing and your time.”

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