Young people celebrate 10 years of making their voices heard

This story was published 30 July 2018

Young people who have been representing their peers with North Yorkshire’s decision makers for ten years took a well-deserved break to celebrate their achievements.

2.	Cutting the cake at the 10th anniversary are Oliver Griffiths and Natasha Firth, original members of Flying High and the Young People’s Council respectively, with Stuart Carlton, the County Council’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services, and Jane Le Sage, Assistant Director for Inclusion.

The Flying High group, for young adults with disabilities or additional needs, and the Young People’s Council, for those who have experience of care, are both supported by North Yorkshire County Council.

Present and past members got together with County Council staff and others they have worked with over the years for a joint tenth birthday party at the Pavilions of Harrogate on Saturday, 21 July. After the formal group business was taken care of, they enjoyed dinner and dancing.

Thoughts on the groups and the events were captured in a guest book at the celebration. The comments include:

  • “I have enjoyed all the work I was involved in during my time with the YPC. We organised many events and I like to think we made a difference. I am so happy to see that this is still continuing ten years on.”
  • “It has been a great event – wonderful to see the ‘family’ and friends again. Great to see how it has grown from us five at the very beginning.”
  • “I loved being in Flying High from the very beginning. It is good to see all my friends.”
  • “It has been a class day with all my amazing friends. Hope to reach 20 years.”

Ed Graham, chair of Flying High, said: “As soon as I started Flying High I felt like there was a bigger part for me to play. I want to make a difference in people’s lives and give them the hope that they can achieve their goals and dreams.”

Amy Harlow, chair of the YPC, added: “Ever since I joined the YPC I feel I’ve been able to be myself. I am now able to stand up in front of large group of people and give a presentation. Thanks to County Council members of staff for helping me do this. I have definitely made friends for life within this group.”

County Councillor Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “These groups deserve to celebrate their role over the last ten years. They are about giving a voice to young people with particular needs or experiences and they do a commendable job. The County Council is committed to listening to young people and supporting groups like Flying High and the Young People’s Council.”

Flying High has worked on issues such as transport, mental health services and employment for people with disabilities. The Young People’s Council runs consultation days to bring young people together to share views and presents a young voice to the County Council and other organisations, including the Department for Education.

Any young person wanting to find out more about either group can email