sccYOUNG PEOPLE, PARENTS, CARERS AND YOUTH ORGANISATIONS have the chance to have their say on services in the city.

A survey throughout October is not only gathering information on the range of services, activities and support available and used by young people, but also gathering suggestions on how they could be improved.

An online questionnaire is available on with paper copies available at local libraries, schools and youth centres.

There are four different versions available;
– children and young people
–  parents and carers
– local residents
– voluntary/community sector organisations and schools

Young people and their families are asked what services they already use and what might encourage and enable them to access more, while service providers such as schools and youth groups have the chance to suggest what could help them to improve and expand what they can offer.

Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Pat Smith said: “We have 36,652 young people and children from eight to nineteen years old in our city, and we are committed to providing them with the greatest range of opportunities that we can to give them the best possible start to life and their school careers.

“To help us achieve this long standing aim, we need to get as many people as possible involved in this review of services and help us shape how future services are delivered.

“Working with our community partners we not only provide a range of facilities and sport, social and voluntary activities but also a level of specialist help and support which we want to maintain and improve wherever possible.”

Helping to collate all the information gathered during the review are young people from across the city already involved with youth consultation groups including  Sunderland Youth Parliament, Young Inspectors, Change Council and City Equals.

Speaking at Sunderland Youth Parliament,  Thomas Crawford, 16, from St Aidan’s Catholic Academy said: “It’s important that the voices of young people and all those related  to them are heard.

“It means that things can be changed based on their views on how they think that their needs should be met.”

Luwam Habte, 17, from St Robert of Newminster Catholic School and Sixth Form College added: “Surveys like this are really helpful in finding out what people both need and expect from youth services.

“Everyone needs to take part in this survey because if they don’t share their views and opinions, we  can’t do anything to change and improve things.”