Teens have say about services

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A PROJECT which gives Sheffield teenagers a chance to have their say on services which affect them has been praised at an awards ceremony.

The Young Inspectors scheme sees a team of 13 to 19-year-olds working to make sure that services meet their requirements.

The initiative has already attracted national attention - Children’s Minister Tim Laughton praised the young people’s work during a visit last month.

A priority for the inspectors has been making sure services meet the needs of both disabled and non-disabled children.

The teenagers have been visiting the services incognito and assess them as to whether they are fun, safe and accessible.

They then rate them from one to five – five being the best. If they score four or below the Young Inspectors write to the service to point out how they might be able to improve.

A Town Hall ceremony saw the Young Inspectors given awards by Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, Coun Jackie Drayton.

She said: “These are such dedicated and hard-working young people. Who better to assess what children and young people really need if not the young people themselves?

“We are lucky to have so many excellent facilities for young people in Sheffield and it is great to see them being improved in such a way.”

Already some changes have been made to a number of services including making sure websites are more up to date, advertising is more informative and new sessions are specifically developed for 14 to 19-year-olds.

Newfield pupil Molly Ridley, aged 14, was asked to become a Young Inspector by her school.

“I am so glad I did. It has opened my eyes up to the number of services there are out there for young people like me,” she said.