Young people from across Wales have been meeting with the First Minister and Deputy Minister to discuss the impacts of the pandemic on young people as well as making recommendations to support young people throughout the lockdown periods and restrictions. The group has also met with Welsh Governments Communications team to discuss the best platforms to communicate information regarding the pandemic directly with children and young people. Key areas included:
- Young people and their families who are living in poverty and experiencing digital exclusion. The group came up with some recommendations for WG to consider in improving access and consistency for all young people especially as blended learning and access to services online is likely to continue for quite some time.
- Youth services and how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted on the most vulnerable young people in our communities. The young people expressed how these services are essential for the wellbeing and support networks for young people. This contributed to the introduction of opening up youth and community centres to support provisions and meetings of up to 15 people at a time.
- Restrictions, lockdowns and bubbles. The First Minister supported recommendations from the young people when he introduced a change to the meeting in public spaces policy to include 4 people from separate households; this was in direct response to the young people expressing that just meeting within their family bubble does not necessarily meet their needs.
The young people participating were confident, passionate and articulate. They contributed to the discussion with thought and consideration of how Coronavirus and its associated restrictions impact on young people from across Wales within all aspects of their lives. They offered recommendations to Welsh Government to support all young people in Wales to have the very best and fairest opportunities under the circumstances and in terms of what we may face ahead of us.
The young people participating attended preparatory sessions and debrief sessions. As part of this process Young Wales conducted a reflection and evaluation activity that examined the impacts and outcomes on the young people taking part. These outcomes and impacts have been reflected in the word clouds below which are currently being displayed within the communications department at Welsh Government.