Healthwatch Northamptonshire has become the first organisation in the county to win the Investing in Children Award.
The awards recognise and celebrate examples of imaginative and inclusive practice with children and young people and organisations applying for an award have to demonstrate dialogue with youngsters, which leads to change.
Since its original launch in February 2015, Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire (YHW) has been working to ensure young voices are being heard in the county.
Kate Holt, CEO of Healthwatch Northamptonshire said: “We are extremely proud of our young people’s achievement. To get national recognition like this one from such an inspiring organisation as Investing in Children, clearly shows that we are going in the right direction.
"Our young volunteers are the driving force of our organisation, and we couldn’t be happier with the positive impact they are making.
"This award ensures that as an organisation we continue to put young people at the heart of what we do and will hopefully inspire others to involve and listen to young people too.”
By tackling issues around health and social care, young people between the ages of 11 to 24 have made an impact locally.
They have visited Northampton General Hospital as a part of their work plan, where they met with healthcare professionals and talked to the patients to see if there is anything that could be improved on the children’s wards.
As a result, they produced a report which can be accessed here, and they also created a report on eating disorders to find out if young people have enough support.
Soon, they will launch a mental health survey to look at the emotional well-being of Northamptonshire youngsters and assess if more should be done to help them.
Their proactive approach, innovative ideas and passion for creating positive change has proved that young people in Northamptonshire shouldn’t be afraid to speak up and shape the health and social care services that are important to them.
Esther Stimpson, Healthwatch Officer and Lead for Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire added: “We are so proud of everything that our young volunteers have achieved and we will continue to work with them to ensure that their voice is heard when it comes to health and social care.
"Young people are vital in services locally as they are the service users of tomorrow.
"It is important that they know that they are able to have a say in services that affect them and their peers and that they know that their voice really does count and will be heard.”
In their report, Investing in Children wrote: “It was a real pleasure to meet members of Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire.
"They have carried out research, conducted surveys, produced reports, met with and challenged service providers to improve the outcomes for children and young people accessing health and social care services.”