I think it’s safe to say not every committee meeting ends with Christmas lights being unplugged in order to charge a wheelchair. Not every committee meeting has a wooden spoon as an integral part of the proceedings. And not every committee has a mascot in the form of Alfie, the Labradoodle. But then we’re no every committee. We’re Lincolnshire Young Voices.
Emma Cross and I were appointed as Chairs in October, which is apt because we’re both wheelchair users. However, thanks to the several hoops that we have to metaphorically jump through, we’re still not in post. At risk of the Chairs in chairs wheeling in, fashionably late to our own committee meeting, we thought we give it a trial run. That way, if we decided the roles weren’t for us, we could politely hand them back and ride off into the sunset…
I’m joking. The reason we wanted to chair was that we’ve both been like kids in a sweet shop since we found out the positions were ours. We’re both passionate about Lincolnshire Young Voices. We know our committee has the power to inspire change because the young people we have the privilege of working alongside are quite simply inspirational. There’s a collective ingrained knowledge that despite everything our disabilities have to throw at us, we will conquer the world.
Okay, I can guess what you’re about to say, and in response, I’m aware that Rome wasn’t built in a day. But our group has enough fire, sass and determination to renovate Rome – complete with accessible toilets, usable transport and decorated in purple banners with bells on within a week. Move over DIY SOS. In all seriousness, we felt it was important to regroup, regather and get back to basics. When we, as a committee, only meet once every two months, it’s tricky to come up with a plan of action everyone is 100% happy with and focused on. Couple this with the fact that two new members have joined us since our Terms of Reference was written, and it was clear we all needed to be on the same page to accomplish our goals.
As a group of young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), we value everyone’s perspective, both in the committee and within the wider community. With this in mind, we welcome young people irrespective of what their disability is because let’s face it someone with Autism is likely to have a different outlook to someone with Cerebral Palsy. Diversity in relation to SEND and with regards to society as a whole is vital, and so the way we communicate with each other has to be versatile. On a basic level, some people are introverts, some are extroverts – some prefer to be holding a wooden spoon as an indicator that they’ve got something to say and some are happy to offer their services as the Town Crier.
Speaking of Town Criers, we’re not all talk and no action. Yes, we want to spread the word of what we do, but a pivotal aspect of that is to tell about the impact our work has on the SEND community and who we’ve connected with to do so. Which brings me onto our forthcoming collaboration with Liaise, who provide a SEND information, support and advice in Lincolnshire. We will be joining forces to create promotional videos to raise their profile as well as our own. We cannot wait to get started.
All in all, it was a productive meeting filled with enthusiasm and festivities.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from the Lincolnshire Young Voices Committee.
Photo credit: Russell Outen-Coe