Ben's Involvement with Commissioning a New Young Person's Service in Rotherham

Hi, I'm Ben and I have been involved in the commissioning of a new young people's drug & alcohol service in Rotherham. This saw me, along with a handful of other young people, involved in the early selection process of a new drug and alcohol service which young people across Rotherham will be able to access in the future.


I got involved with the project when I heard about it through a network of contacts I have with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). The work I'm doing with CAMHS is around getting young people's voice and influence to the core of services which they provide, ensuring that if young people have any concerns or suggestions/ideas of what matters to them about a service. To an extent, the work I do with CAMHS is slightly related to this, putting young people at the core to ensure that we get a say in the services we receive.



I thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the project, partly due to the feeling of pride in playing such a big role in what future care somebody receives, but also thanks to the huge support provided by Co:Create. At the first stage, we got together as a group, with the young people involved on the panel, and also some of the adult panel members, with the aim of explaining what the project was about and creating some questions for the potential providers. Co:Create made myself feel massively welcome and supported to suggest questions to the provider. Along with this, when we got to see the questions put forward to the providers, it was obvious that our views and questions had been reflected in this.


The next stage in the process was meeting with the providers and listening to their presentations. On the whole, this was a good experience. There were three providers, which were given 20 minutes for their presentation and 10 minutes to answer our 4 questions. After listening to the providers, we were asked to score them based off their responses and then feedback at the end to give an overall scoring. Overall, this was very tiring, but still gave off a huge sense of achievement.


Being involved in this process really made me feel that my opinion was valued and that I'm getting a huge chance to influence the care that others will receive in the future, something which I'm passionate about in itself. But again, this couldn't have been done without the support of Co:Create. They provided us with food and drink at the first meeting, pizza at the presentation stage, and took us all out for a meal after the completion of the project as an evaluation session. During this session, we were asked for our views on how the project went and were supported with being completely open about our experiences; which in turn made it really clear that they cared about what we had to say and that they really want to learn about how to improve for future projects.  


On top of all this, we were paid for the work we were doing in vouchers. The rate of pay was worked out fairly, using an average pay of everyone in the room for the presentation, worked out to an hourly rate. Although it was worked out fairly, I personally feel that it was too much, and to an extent, I feel that many of us would have done it for nothing, especially given all the extras which were provided by Co:Create, such as the snacks, pizza and meal.


Being involved in this project has definitely been a huge confidence booster for me. It has enabled me to feel more comfortable working in groups, something which I struggle with, and that I can speak my thoughts aloud and they will be heard and reflected in the project, as oppose to keeping them to myself like I normally would! I can't thank the group enough for this! I came away from the project feeling happy in that the changes which are coming about from this project, will influence so many others in the local area. 

Emma Ward