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Young people speak up about service life

3 July 2017
Three young people from service families in Helensburgh recently travelled to Aldershot to attend the Directorate of Children's and Young People's (DCYP) Board Meeting.

The meeting took place on Wednesday, June 7 within the Army Barracks in Aldershot and consisted of representatives from each branch of the military, MOD safeguarding representatives, MOD education representatives and the Naval Families Federation.

The three girls who attended were Molly Hogg, (14 years) Saskia Parsons, (16 years) and Alice Trollope (21 years). They were accompanied by Rebekah Hill, Social worker and Sophia McArdle, Community Development Worker with Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare.

All of them delivered presentations to the Board on subjects which affect them as young people who belong to the Armed Forces community. 

"I was very impressed with the young people who delivered their presentation to the MOD Children and Young People's Board.

Damian Pinel

Throughout their presentations they spoke honestly about how they feel regarding "service life" and the negative and positive impact this has had on their childhood and growing up.

Some of the issues raised were moving schools and homes regularly, bullying and the lack of "young person friendly" information available.

They talked to the group about how they are tackling the issues by working in partnership with Royal Navy and Royal Marines Welfare and local schools and organisations.

The honesty of the young people was well received by the board and as a result they have been invited back to discuss bullying, which is a much wider issue and affects children and young people regardless of their background. The specific issue is to be targeted nationally and tri-service.

As well as the presentations from the youth forum there was a video message from a young girl living in Akitiri in Cyprus and a Skype call from some young people in Kenya.

All of the young people highlighted similar issues, with bullying and missing family members and friends at the top of their agendas.

Damian Pinel, Chief Community Development Advisor, Royal Air Force said: "I was very impressed with the young people who delivered their presentation to the MOD Children and Young People's Board.

“I hope you will understand if I say that it was no more than I expected, recognising that young people are very capable of expressing their views, particularly when supported by effective Community Development staff."

Overall, it was a great experience for the young people who attended and they all reported that they felt they were properly listened to and that the right people heard what they had to say.

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