Stories & news News Feedback Friday - advocacy in action Feedback Friday is all about empowering young people to have their say and to help Action For Kids (now known as my AFK) understand what each individual really wants from their short break. We will use the information to deliver real change in our next holiday programme and let our young people know that their opinions really matter. For some young people with special educational needs and disabilties (SEND), speaking up, saying what they want/need and how they feel can be tough. They could be feeling anxious, worry about how it would make someone feel, whether they are saying the right thing, or simply not be used to anyone asking them their opinion. They could also be used to people asking but nothing being changed when they do speak up. Our Advocacy Development Manager, Kate Jackson, recognises this is a real problem. "When young people take the time to give their feedback, it is really important that we listen and act on this information otherwise it can lead to apathy; with young people becoming more and more reluctant to take part in another ‘tick box’ exercise," she says. Unlike ‘traditional’ consultation exercises which often result in no real change for the service or the user, my AFK is determined to put rhetoric into practice. We want to deliver a service that will ultimately result in better outcomes for all of the people who come here. It’s also really important that the design and delivery of the consultation is user friendly; understanding people’s communication needs, giving choice and allowing enough time to answer will help to alleviate any anxieties that the young person might be feeling and of course make it fun! Responding to feedback During the summer programme, Malik had been involved in sports activities but when we asked if he had choices, he told us he felt like he missed out on making a hanging basket. He said: "I can’t always do the activities I would like because of clashes – I love sport but it clashes with other activities [like making hanging baskets] I would love to try." We acted on this immediately and added the hanging basket as an additional activity this week so Malik could try it. Malik with his hanging basket my AFK is also currently working with their student forum to develop, design and test a range of methods and activities which will enable more young people to make their voice count. Read more about our advocacy project here.