A group of Holywell students were invited to take part in a workshop to give their views and opinions on what a new children’s charter should include.

The North Wales Children’s Charter, which is being developed by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, will comprise a set of standards that organisations will work to, to make sure children and young people are treated fairly and have a voice.

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By involving children and young people from the region in its design, the Charter will be based on what matters most to them and will be in line with children’s rights, as set out in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which stipulates that children have a right to freely express their views in matters affecting them, that those views are listened to and that children are given the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting them.

The Leader: Owain observes the students' thoughts as they are written in the triangle.Owain observes the students' thoughts as they are written in the triangle.

Twelve students from Years 7 to 10 at Ysgol Treffynnon volunteered to get involved in the workshop, which was led by Owain Williams from the Urdd who will, in turn, feed back the students’ recommendations to the health board. The Urdd is delivering the workshops to every high school in North Wales.

Several activities included drawing a triangle and writing the most important issues to the students at the top, working down to matters they felt were less critical.

The Leader: One group’s finished triangle.One group’s finished triangle.

Another activity involved drawing an outline of a human being and writing what they considered ‘good’ traits inside the outline and ‘bad’ traits outside the outline.

Amongst the points the students raised as messages to other young people were: ‘treat people how you want to be treated,’ ‘you can't change the situation, but you can control your reaction to it,’ ‘be yourself,’ and ‘always support those with mental health issues.’

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Rebekah Rae, ALN teacher and Student Voice lead at Ysgol Treffynnon, said: “I think the Children’s Charter is a wonderful initiative that will ensure our young people feel valued, are listened to, and are taken seriously. This is so important for young people’s confidence and self-esteem.

“I have been impressed by the maturity and compassion demonstrated by the students during the workshop, it really is heartwarming to see the way they have responded. I know they are looking forward to seeing the Charter when it is finalised. I think this can only be a positive thing for the future of our children and young people.”

The Leader: The group complete the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ traits activity.The group complete the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ traits activity.

Jane Berry, Patient Experience Lead, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in BCUHB, said: “We have worked on several projects that engage with children and young people across North Wales and feedback includes the themes of not always feeling listened to or empowered to make decisions and choices.

"We want to change this and ensure that all children and young people feel empowered. The North Wales Children’s Charter will help to bring about this change and give children and young people the voice they deserve.”