Youth City Skills: Promoting young people’s independence

Children and young people

This year, Back Up introduced a new course planned and developed by our Youth Advisors – the Youth City Skills course.

The course, which happened in Bristol between 5 – 8 August, gave young people the opportunity to do everyday activities, including using public transport, visiting museums and the theatre, and a treasure hunt around the city.

It was the brainchild of Back Up’s Youth Advisory Group, which explores how to improve Back Up’s services for children and young people. Their aim was to create a course that promotes young people’s independence.

Yasmin Attisha, 16, one of the Youth Advisors involved in planning the course, explained why they picked Bristol as their venue:

“It’s a cool city with some great places to practise your wheelchair skills. Getting around town is very important. And if a friend without a spinal cord injury is interested in learning we want them to come along. We want them to see what we do.”

It lasted for three days and promoted the young people’s independence, along with the new element of bringing a sibling or friend.

Back Up Trust

Image credit: Guy Harrop

This is the second new Back Up course developed by the Youth Advisors. In 2013, they came up with the idea for the Moving Forwards course for 18 – 25 year olds, which bridges the gap between the courses for under 18s and adults. Based in Leeds University campus, it helps young adults deal with issues around their increasing independence, such as travelling and moving away from home.

Ella, Back Up’s Under 18s Manager, said:

“Youth Advisors give us ideas and we help them to become reality. It’s an exciting partnership – it’s not just lip service and ticking the box. We encourage them to lead and run our services.”

The Youth Advisors are active on social media and have a closed Facebook group for young people with spinal cord injury where they can communicate with others throughout the UK and post practical information, such as choosing which cars are good when learning to drive.

Back Up Trust

Image credit: Guy Harrop

Are you a young person living with spinal cord injury? Add Ella on Facebook and then she will invite you to join the group.