Art, chickens, and children’s rights

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Guest blog by Lois Medi – Advisory Panel Member

On Tuesday the twelfth of July, the first meeting of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ young advisory panel was held. It was a brilliant, productive day that gave us even more encouragement to make a difference to the lives of children in Wales.

There are eighteen young people in total in the panel, with meetings held in south and north Wales for travel purposes. Seven of us have been chosen from the north, where we met with the Children’s Commissioner and her co-worker Sarah.

I arrived in the morning and walked into a room full of warmth and welcome. The atmosphere was lovely from the start of the day until the time we left.

The seven of us chosen from the north are Elan, Emma, Maria, Tom, Sam, Malin and me. As the meeting went on I noticed how passionately everyone shared their opinions, and the fact that we were an enthusiastic and happy group.

To start the day and to begin to learn more about each other, we introduced ourselves to the group and said something interesting about our names.

We had a funny story from the Children’s Commissioner about how she had the name Sally because of a chicken her father owned!

We moved on to do a bit of art work. We had lots of fun drawing and using all sorts of different materials to make a collage which contained a hub of information about ourselves, our principles, and the things that represent us.

Following this, we sorted cards with images that were relevant to children into piles of ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. It was interesting to see the variety of opinions around the table, and to understand that we all have different perspectives.

Then we discussed the issues that we’re keen to tackle during our time on the panel, and Sally explained her vital role as the voice of children in Wales.

She also shared her priorities for the next few years which included creating ambassadors in Wales’ secondary schools, and working on a new curriculum being prepared by Welsh Government for 2021.

She’ll want our comments and opinions on lots of the work she does as Wales’ Children’s Commissioner, and of course we seven are more than ready to have our say and to share our ideas.

As the south Wales panel met two days later, we decided to record greetings for them by filming on ipads! We’re hoping to hear from them soon!

After more discussion and chat the meeting came to an end and we all stood in a circle and said goodbye in a fun and unique way. I’m already looking forward to the next meeting, and as enthusiastic as ever to stand up for children’s rights in Wales!