DAD provides Inclusion, Participation and Leadership opportunities for disabled young people aged between 14-25 years through its Young Leaders Project. The intention is that young disabled people gain skills and experience in order to influence DAD and other services.
Young Leaders is a user led group and aims to achieve the following:
• Have an impact on D.A.D by influencing decision making internally
• Improve accessibility of services
• Widen public attitudes with regards disability and change negative attitudes
• Develop leadership skills in members
Why Young Leaders is important
Young Leaders is important for several reasons. Firstly it actively involves young disabled people in DAD, which could potentially lead them to play prominent roles within the organisation in the future.
It is also the only organisation of its kind within Darlington, and as such it plays a fairly prominent role within the community. Without it young disabled people would be completely without representation.
Thirdly it also provides a voice and a place for young disabled people to express their views. This is vital as young people as a whole, are often marginalised by society. This is even more true for young disabled people,
What we want to achieve
• Ensure the setting up of a DAD Facebook page
• Open up the group to all ages and allow membership from the wider public
• Continue to work with and in greater cohesion with other Young People’s organisations
• Increase young people’s influence within DAD
• Increase the number of members through wider recruitment
Where we would like to see the Young Leaders group and Disability rights in 25 years?
I would like to think that Young Leaders will keep going and raise more awareness. I would like to work with other organisations in 25 years and keep fighting against Disablism. - James
Its hard to say what might happen in 25 years; but hopefully prejudice and discrimination will be a lot less or to be really optimistic, non-existent. As Young Leaders we will have done lots more to promote DAD and at the very least the Facebook page will be up and running - Chloe
I would like to see Young Leaders progressing further and looking towards the future I would love to see the Young Leaders have a new name and aiming towards any age and let any individuals in for the right reasons - Damian
Young Leaders will definitely survive for the next 5 years. However towards the end of the period in question Young Leaders are likely evolve into another project or disintegrate as Young Disabled people become more socially included. I would like the project to go into a large viable part of DAD but largely independent of it and completely user led, as well as more inclusive to all ages and disabilities. - Gerry
Young Leaders should be more publicised and not just Disabled Young people. I would like to see more impact on other services around the country and more groups set up like Young Leaders. - Sammy
I would like Young Leaders to do everything for other people like we have in the past and we are in the present and will in the future. What I like about Young Leaders is that we are working for everyone and everyone likes to hear about us. In the coming years I would like to actually see us on TV and I would like us to be celebrities and be famous. We are loving the future, so come on the future! - David
What Young Leaders have achieved so far
We have been involved in the recruitment of staff who work with us e.g. Inclusion Coordinator, Finance and Administrative worker.
Most of us became Young Inspectors. We have inspected many places such as the library, DAD, and Harewood House, checking for accessibility and attitude to service users and young people.
We have worked with an organisation called DOSH to get funding for resources to support our projects.
Other organisations that we have worked with are-
• Youth of Today
We have spoken at local and national events, such as:
• Darlington Parent Carer Forum (formerly Carers of Disabled Children in Darlington CDCD)
• Birmingham & London DisLIB Conferences
• Regional network of Parent Carer Forums
We have met with influential figures such as:
• Bill Dixon (Leader of the Council)
• John Williams (Ex Leader of the Council)
• Jenny Chapman (MP for Darlington)
• Murray Rose (Director of People, Darlington Borough Council)
• Peter Barron (Editor of the Northern Echo)
We are attempting to work in partnership with other Young People’s organisations in Darlington such as the Youth Services T3. We have also started working organisations such as Splinter and Extreme which are young disabled peoples groups in the North East.
We have held several Young people’s forums - focusing on themes such as Equality and having our say in DAD.
We have attended DAD’s Stakeholder Forum - sharing our views on matters that affect DAD.
We have also attended Darlington Borough council’s Talking Together events and shared our views about what is important for young disabled people
We have had training from Alison John Associates, which gave us skills to use in speaking up and campaigning
We as members have grown in confidence. We have more of a say in who we are and what we do. ‘I was quiet and now I have my own opinion.’
To find out more about the group please contact the ChYPS team:
Tel: 01325 254848
Young Leaders Picture Gallery
(Photo of Young Leader with Darlington MP Jenny Chapman)
(Photo of Young Leader with a presentation)
(Photo of Young Leader with the Leader of Darlington Borough Council)
(Photo of Young Leaders at a Forum event)
(Photo of Young Leaders delivering a presentation at the DAD AGM)
Young Leaders Video
Disability LIB's website has a video showing some of the work done by Young Leaders. Clicking on the link opens the video in a new window and you need to click on the play button to start it, please click here to watch the video.
Investing in Children
(Young Leaders at the Youth Forum being presented with the certificate for DAD in recognition of Investing in Children)
Investing in Children is concerned with the human rights of children and young people. In particular, Investing in Children works to ensure that children and young people have a voice, and are able to influence the services they use.
DAD has demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the young people/children who use the service that they have been involved in dialogue, and change has come about as a result. The Young Leaders have been involved in the consultation process which involved completing a chart of evidence of children and young people's participation and meeting with the Investing in Children team.
This led to a report being completed recommending DAD for Investing in Children status. The certificate was presented to the Young Leaders at the Youth Forum on Saturday 19th March 2011, who were pleased to see the results of their voices being heard.