The second Children’s Council meeting of children from our Worcester and Dudley offices was held on 23rd February at our Beech Bank office, with twice the number of children in attendance this time round.
There was plenty of pizza and squash to accompany the hour’s lively discussions which covered a variety of topics important to the children. First on the agenda for discussion was summer activities and the children put forward some great ideas of things they would like to do including a sports day, football tournament and go-karting. Next for discussion was the question of whether the children would like to have a company Director present at their Council meetings, to which they resolved they would like to invite a Director to some events but not to every meeting.
The final agenda item was an extremely important topic for our looked after children, concerning meetings about them. The children engaged incredibly well in the discussion, most speaking positively but some expressing experiences of having felt confused or in the dark about meetings and the outcomes of meetings. Providing a forum for this kind of free, open and child-led discussion was exactly the aim of establishing the Children’s Council, and our Family Workers Tracey and Rachel were delighted to be able to take an action point away with them from the meeting, decided on by the children, of including age-appropriate information about meetings in our children’s welcome boxes.
The Council meeting was finished off with a workshopping session on internet safety and privacy settings on social media, with many of the children expressing mature and responsible views on the pros and cons of age restrictions and open profiles.
Once the meeting had finished it was time for some well-deserved R&R, kicked off with hot chocolate with the works (cream & marshmallows of course!) before a short walk down the road to Redpoint Climbing Centre. The children listened attentively to the safety briefing before throwing themselves enthusiastically into the climbing challenge, taking it in turns to scale the wall whilst the others handled the ropes to assist the climber, before moving on to a boulder climbing session.
The rock climbing was fantastic, but the real success of the afternoon was the positive discussion at the Council meeting and the and clear action points taken away from it to be implemented across all our offices for the benefit of every child we look after. We are very grateful to the children who took part and really proud of the work they are doing. They made great progress at this meeting, not just in its content but also in learning how to express their opinions and giving others the space and time to do the same, and respecting different experiences and opinions. Well done everyone.