The way sexual health services are presented to young people in North Yorkshire is being improved following work done by the Young Advisors employed by North Yorkshire County Council.

Young Advisors are aged between 16 and 24 and advise community leaders and decision makers on how to engage young people in community life, decision making and improving services. They are trained to offer guidance to local authorities, housing associations and other organisations on a young person’s perspective. They do this work in addition to their studies.

The team has recently undertaken work for YorSexualHealth, which is commissioned by the County Council to provide sexual health services, to look at what sexual health services young people would like and where they might seek information about local clinics.

Liz Hare of YorSexualHealth, part of York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Young Advisor team provided us with detailed and helpful feedback, which will enable us to develop our website and services to better meet the needs of the young people in North Yorkshire.

“It is crucial that we understand the views and thoughts of young people when considering their sexual health, but we can gain this understanding only through appropriate consultation. The Young Advisors have provided us with a professional and effective way of engaging with our local population and we are planning to continue working with them over the coming year.”

As a result of the Young advisors’ guidance, YorSexualHealth plans to streamline and enhance its website, access the feasibility of an online chat service and look at options for text prompts and reminders to customers, discuss how it works with partners to benefit young people and look at engagement with schools

Pete Dwyer, Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services for the County Council, said: “The Young Advisors have proved a valuable asset to the County Council and the other organisations they have supported. They speak for young people, making sure their thoughts and feelings are considered in decisions that affect them. They also help decision-makers develop innovative solutions and can support training, mentoring and coaching to people of all ages.

“Being a Young Advisor also benefits the young person, broadening their experience and enhancing their skills.”

Any young people interested in finding out more about joining the Young Advisors should contact Kevin Jeffrey on 01609 535931 or email Kevin.Jeffrey@northyorks.gov.uk.

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