Hearing what young people with spinal injury want at the Back Up Youth Advisory Group away weekend
When it comes to dealing with children it’s all too easy to assume that we, as adults, know what’s best. As part of Bolt Burdon Kemp’s relationship with spinal cord injury charity Back Up, I had the privilege of hearing exactly what they want when I was invited to one of its Youth Advisory Group training weekends.
Donning wetsuits in the pouring rain, Back Up’s young service users were fearless as they tried their hand at water-skiing at the amazing Access Adventures adaptive sports park. Their spinal cord injuries did not hold them back, unlike me who wasn’t brave enough to get into the water – they completely showed me up!
I was invited to the training weekend after Bolt Burdon Kemp announced earlier this year we would be sponsoring Back Up’s Youth Advisory Group (YAG).
Back Up is the only charity in the UK with dedicated services for children and young people with spinal cord injury. This alone is amazing but I think it really speaks to Back Up’s dedication to this section of the spinal cord injury community that they are so committed to hearing from children and young people directly about what they want.
As well as taking to the water, attendees were given the opportunity to discuss the ways Back Up can continue improving its services for children and young people affected by spinal cord injury.
Hearing from this group it was clear that not only did they have some amazing ideas (and ones I doubt a room full of adults would have come up with) but that they are very much aware of what they wanted. The fact that these ideas will be fed back into Back Up’s services is something that I find incredibly exciting.
I can’t write a blog about the weekend without mentioning the amazing volunteers who made the weekend happen. From the parents who duly fulfilled their job description as taxi service to transport their offspring; to the volunteers who kept us all fed and watered, to Amy and Ella for running such interactive sessions and finally to Active Adventures for hosting.
It was a fun-filled weekend and one that I would urge other children and young people to join. Don’t just take my word for it – check out Back Up’s video here!
As for my participation in the water sports – next time, maybe…