Troy and Harrison are two young people from Wakefield who took part in The Collective 2023, to help champion change for young people with disabilities or SEND.
Here they share what The Get Together means to them, and what it felt like to take part.
Harrison: I found the experience fun and exciting. I learnt a lot about participating and co- production.
Troy: I really enjoyed my experience at The Collective Get Together this August 2023. It was an amazing & inspiring time to come together and speak about what we had been doing. But also to meet other empowering young people and speak about issues that matter to us.
What is The Get Together all about?
Troy: The Collective enables young people to feel like they are listened too and by speaking to the DFE the department of education of ways of empowering us young people and making issues that schools. Colleges and universities more accessible as young people need to feel included in making decisions and feeling like they have a voice.
Why did you want to take part?
Harrison: What I enjoyed about Kids get together in August was that we all worked together and did stuff as a team, inputting all our ideas. Supporting each other. Doing the different activities together. And I also enjoyed contributing to something that will help disabled children and young people in the UK.
Troy: I enjoy going because it gets me to have my voice heard. I also feel inspired to make a change. I got to speak to other young people, sharing our lived experiences together.
And talking with professionals on issues that we face in our lives as disabled young people.
We can share these goals with the government in ways of supporting us. It makes a big difference to me, as a young person, having a voice and feeling like people in the world are listening to me.
Are there any barriers to taking part?
Troy: I think young people struggle with having a voice and speaking about issues they want to talk about. Many young people don’t like to and don’t have the confidence to speak up.
But The Collective doesn’t judge you. It shares your views and opinions and you get to have your voice heard nationally by the government and professionals. They need to know our lived experience so they can make the changes we need.
As young people, we all have lived experiences, and a platform like The Collective Get Together helps us share our stories.
And we hear you won an award!
Troy: Yes, our Shout Out For Change group got an award! It was for recognition of all our hard work and achievements in participation, co -production and as part of The Collective.
It was wonderful, as we’re a local SEND group which only started two years ago.
We want to inspire other young people to have a voice and be heard. We work as a team, and support each other and empower one another in ideas and making positive change. Having a voice powers other young people to be changemakers and makes a difference not just in our local area, but nationwide too.
What’s Your Advice for Anyone Who’s Thinking of Taking Part Next Year?
Harrison: My advice to any young person who wants to be part of Collective I would say just do it and always challenge yourself to be better, and be proud of your successes.
Troy: I would say go for it as it gives you the chance to have a voice and be heard. And never feel like you can’t, as by having a voice you make a big difference. You empower lots of other people, like professionals, to listen to what you have to say.
“Having a disability can be powerful in having your voice heard. Don’t see it as weakness, but a strength.”