A message from Rocio – her hopes for 2023
Happy New Year all, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda pawb, and really hope that 2023 is treating you well so far. A new year always brings with it a sense of hope and possibility, and so I thought I would share with you what I am hoping for in 2023.
Well, firstly, I hope that 2023 can be a year where I get to meet and hear from more of you, or even if I don’t meet you face to face, that you will at least hear from me, and I will hear from you. Please do get in touch if you have anything to share or anything you’d like to invite me to. There are lots of ways to get in touch! Marged our Communications Assistant will be very pleased to hear from you, and I also have a great Participation team too. If you have a more serious concern about your rights then our Investigations and Advice service is the place to direct those.
Secondly, I want 2023 to be a year of action based on what young people have told me. It was fantastic that in my recent national survey Ambitions for Wales, over 8,000 young people responded and shared with me what’s important to them, what is going well or not so well for young people, and what they would like me to focus on over the next few years. My team is currently very busy reading and analysing all of your responses and we will be publishing our new 3 year work plan very soon and starting working on it from April 2023!
Thirdly, I’m going to keep on challenging those making important decisions affecting children and young people in Wales to ensure that they are practicing what they preach and that they are listening to children and young people and are respecting children’s rights. Even though governments are in financially challenging times, it is crucial that children are protected through these times. I think I’m going to have to keep on saying that! I’m also keen to link up to other organisations who are saying similar things especially about Child Poverty and working out how our voice could be stronger together.
And finally, being accountable to children is something that applies to me too, that’s why I’m looking forward to welcoming new young members to my Youth Advisory Panel with an in person meeting in February! That group is critical in challenging me and making sure that I am focused on what’s important to all of you. I’m also keen to develop conversations with the Welsh Youth Parliament to see how we can link up better together to strengthen how accountable I am to children and young people in Wales.
Well I think that’s enough of a wish list for now, but always happy to hear more suggestions from you! Bye for now! Hwyl am y tro!
There aren’t many working days where I have the chance to speak Spanish, but I loved meeting and chatting to Amaia last week. She moved to Wales from Newcastle, and her family is from Mexico. She’s sharing her experiences of learning Welsh as part of a new children’s news programme to be broadcast on S4C later this year. We spoke about how being able to speak Spanish has helped us both to learn Welsh, and the things we love about being able to speak more than one language. Gracias Amaia!
RSE Education in Wales
Recently the Young People’s Advisory Panel talked with the Commissioner about individuals like Andrew Tate and their influence on young people. Many of the members were worried about the risk of this and how many could be ‘taken in’ by these attitudes. Indeed, this illustrates the importance of Wales’ new compulsory RSE Education so that children and young people can learn about equality, respect and empathy in relationships. It also brings attention to the importance of children and young people having these conversations in a space where they can challenge and be challenged about what they see in the media while respecting a range of views. You can read more about what our advisory panel had to say about the issue on our website.
Our Young People’s Advisory Panel goals 2023
This month, the young people’s advisory panel met and discussed their goals over the course of the year. Some of the group’s main areas of focus are free public transport for young people, tackling racism, homophobia and transphobia in schools and moving towards a school uniform that’s inclusive all of cultures and backgrounds.
The group decided to focus on campaigning for free public transport for young people and agreed to some actions to take this forward. This included writing a blog on the topic, writing a petition to the Senedd to encourage others to support the cause, and to contact the Youth Parliament to see whether we can work together on this issue. We agreed to set up a subgroup of the panel and meet again in a few weeks to assess progress.
Special Mission Launch
This month the Participation Team have been busy launching our new Special Mission for our Ambassadors from schools and communities to complete during the spring term. Special Missions are tasks for children and young people in our Ambassador Schools/ Community groups which help inform our office’s work and help children and young people to learn about their rights and the UNCRC. In our Ambitions for Wales survey, which was completed at the end of last year, we learned that 61% of children aged 6-11 years old in Wales are concerned about money and how it will affect their lives. This term’s Special Mission reflects this and includes tasks about the cost of living and costs that are related to the school day. These include things like school uniform or extra-curricular activities. The team have been working hard to create activities that will help children and young people discuss and understand how the cost of living can affect their lives and how they can work with their teachers on ideas to help their school and community.
You can learn more about our the Special Mission here.
Elections and voting
This month our Communications Officer Lewis has been reflecting on his first time voting in an election. He looks back at how he felt and what he knew when he first voted and how that has changed in the years since. The blog also reflects on resources and the changes that allow young people to be better informed of how to use their vote. On the 30th of January it will be the start of the Electoral Commission’s ‘Welcome to your vote week’ which is to start conversation about democracy and politics with young people. You can find out more about how to get involved on The Electoral Commission’s website.
Also, you can read the blog in full on our website.