Senior leaders from across Northamptonshire came together for a system-wide conversation aimed at improving outcomes for children and young people in our county.

The 2020 Northamptonshire Children and Young People Summit took place remotely in November, with over 50 leaders in attendance representing a wide range of children’s and young people’s services.

The summit was facilitated by Professor Simon Kenny, NHS England’s national clinical director for children and young people. Keynote speaker Ian Thomas CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, highlighted the importance of listening to children and young people in the provision and development of services.

Four young people also joined the summit to describe their own experiences and highlight how they each wanted to help shape service improvements. Attendees were struck by their powerful contributions which further emphasised why meaningful engagement and involvement is so crucial to delivering better services and outcomes.

Facilitated workshops took place focusing on the outcomes local leaders want to achieve for children and young people, and the summit ended with a joint commitment to concentrate efforts around the agreed outcomes and pledge resources to support the evolution of services for children and young people in Northamptonshire.

Summit hosts Angela Hillery, chief executive of Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and Theresa Grant, chief executive of Northamptonshire County Council, said: “We feel that the summit was a good opportunity to bring a wide group of people together and has certainly helped to spring-board our collective journey towards improving outcomes for children and young people.

“We are passionate about ensuring we improve outcomes for the children, young people and their families within our county and believe that the summit has created a focused environment within which these changes can begin to take shape.”

All the input and feedback from the Northamptonshire Children and Young People Summit is now being assessed and will be used to develop a way forward for children and young people in the county.

Young people’s feedback to the Northamptonshire summit:

“I am attending this summit because it’s imperative we bridge the gap between those who create policy and those who are affected by that policy. In order to allow young children in care / care leavers to realise and reach their full potential instead of slipping through the gaps – the gaps that we can fill to stop this happening.”

“I wanted to speak to everyone at the summit to raise awareness for all the young and young adult carers. Having to manage caring and school, college or work, may make the young person feel isolated and struggle with their own mental health and well-being. If I had been identified as a young carer at an earlier age, I perhaps would have had more support.”

“Around four years ago, I went to my GP and was referred to CAMHS. From there I met a psychiatrist and occupational therapist before being referred to the crisis team and being admitted to an inpatient ward. Back in the community I was lucky enough to have my key worker for a few years before moving onto DBT with her. I am now 18 years old and have been formally discharged and diagnosed.”

“I suffer with mental health and for a young person it’s not easy to open up to many people or professionals. I want to change that . It’s time we young people shine the light on a new doorway on the mental health system and see what we can do to help and change things for the better. “

Northamptonshire Children’s Trust now up and running

Northamptonshire Children’s Trust is now operational – a major step forward on the Children’s Services improvement programme in the county. The Trust aspires to deliver outstanding early help and social care services for children and families in the county, ensuring they receive the help they need to prevent difficulties escalating and creating the conditions for social work excellence to flourish. To find out more visit the Northamptonshire Children’s Trust website at www.nctrust.co.uk.