Lincolnshire Young Voices (LYV) are a pan-disability participation group. We research and act upon issues faced by young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
We are funded by Lincolnshire County Council and supported by Lincolnshire NHS. Our aims are to improve accessibility - in its broadest terms - within services and raise awareness of SEND.
Our committee members have lived experience of disability and are dedicated to making positive change.
We have been meeting every two months on a formal basis and have made great progress. We have held social evenings via Zoom to ensure our members feel engaged and included throughout the pandemic.
We understand that to inspire change we need to network and partner with other organisations. To date, we have worked alongside or featured on:
- Council For Disabled Children
- Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum
- Lincolnshire Young Inspectors
- BBC Radio Lincolnshire
- The Lincolnite
Our current work
Our Service Delivery Plan Echoes our mantra of; 'Together, our voices make a difference'. We are determined to help the people of Lincolnshire know what LYV do and how they can get involved in raising awareness of SEND. We are currently looking:
- To improve the accessibility of toilets in Lincolnshire - with Lincolnshire Young Inspectors, we inspected a number of public toilets to assess their accessibility. We have also enlisted the advice of the national initiative, Changing Places to seek guidance. We are gaining the views of children and families to find where toilets are already meeting the needs of those with SEND and what the most important features for accessibility are.
- To improve the accessibility of local transport providers - a survey, seeking young people's views on accessible transport is in the process of being developed. We attended the Healthwatch panel, giving views and asking questions on behalf of the committee about accessibility of hospital transport.
- To help make Lincolnshire's Local Offer the best it can be - we sit on the Local Offer's Working Group so that the committee can represent the voice of young people to ensure 'accessibility' is key. A committee member has also worked with the Local Offer and features on the site talking about how to access it. As a result, they featured heavily within Internal Comms, raising our profile.
- To help organisations know how SEND-friendly they are - a SEND friendly audit was devised to assess the accessibility of services upon 5 main cornerstones, including; how welcoming and accessible the venue is, how effectively the staff communicated and how their understanding of SEND was perceived and evidenced, as well as how accessible the venue's information is. In the pilot audit, 36 of LCC's children's centres gave feedback, with many centres seeking further guidance from us to enhance and improve the accessibility of their services.
LYV SEND professionals project
We are developing the LYV SEND Professionals Project. We have created a robust web-based training resource. It aims to use the voice of the disabled community and national best practice to improve knowledge for those who, directly or indirectly work with people with SEND.
With the backing of Council For Disabled Children and funding from NHSE, the programme's objective is to demystify what it means to have a disability and gives professionals confidence.
If you're a Young Person (aged 11-25) with SEND who would be interested in joining our group, contact LincolnshireYoungVoices@lincolnshire.gov.uk.