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Inspiring Young Health Champions tell their stories

By Harriet Evans | Dudley | Health | Published:

Young people from Dudley have been shaping local health services by sharing their experiences through performance.

The ‘It starts with me’ project involved 10 Young Health Champions who are all passionate about improving health services

The 'It starts with me' project involved 10 Young Health Champions who are all passionate about improving health services in the borough.

Through performance, group members portrayed some of the challenges that they have faced which have impacted their health and wellbeing, such as being a young carer, struggles with mental health or having a disability.

Dudley Young Health Champion, Mohammed Lukeman, said: “I’ve loved meeting new friends through the project and seeing everyone’s confidence grow. Taking part has helped us to realise that we can all achieve if we get the support that we need.

"My dream job is to be a disability sports coach and I’m going to turn what feels like the impossible into something that I can do, I firmly believe that being positive is everything.”

Moving stories about the group's journeys were told to an invited audience of relatives and friends at the DY1 Community building in Dudley earlier this week.

The performance will also be showcased at a special educational needs and disability conference with families and Dudley decision makers later in September.

Dudley Young Health Champions project coordinator, Faye Hall, added: “Dudley Young Health Champions are raising important issues on behalf of other young people to ensure that their voices can improve local services for everyone.

"This project has boosted confidence and given our young people a an even louder voice, I am incredibly proud of everyone involved.”

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The programme has been funded by Health Education England and designed by theatre-based organisation Performing Perfectly, which has supported the group of 16 to 25 year olds to take part.

Performing Perfectly Director, Lucy Key, said: “Just a little bit of time and support can make life-changing things happen and it’s been a privilege to work with young people from Dudley to enable their stories to be heard and to help shape local health and care services.”

As a reward for taking part, the young people involved will be treated to a trip to see School of Rock in the West End later this month following a generous ticket donation from Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Harriet Evans

By Harriet Evans
Community Reporter - @HarrietEvans_ES

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, covering the issues affecting young people across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Contact me at harriet.evans@expressandstar.co.uk

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