VOYPIC Young Leaders Host Midsummer Tea Party at Stormont

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A group of young people from VOYPIC – Voice of Young People in Care- hosted a special Tea Party Meet & Greet on Tuesday 21 June in the Long Gallery, Stormont.

The young people welcomed new and returning MLAs from the across the NI Assembly Chamber, talking to them about the work of VOYPIC, their experiences of care and leaving care, and their thoughts on how care can be improved for all young people.

“We, as young people, feel it is important that we can speak to our MLAs about the challenges we face on a daily basis, and how we overcome them,” commented Rhianna, one of the organisers. 

“We wanted to share our thoughts on some of the bigger issues that we want the politicians to tackle while they elected members of our Assembly, and to share some of our thoughts and ideas on what can be done.”

Robin Swann MLA, Minister for Health, is welcomed to the Midsummer Tea Party by Rhianna and Thomas

Health Minister, Robin Swann MLA, met with the young people at the event. Children’s social care is within the remit of his Department, and the Minister recently announced an Independent Review of services, led by Professor Ray Jones. VOYPIC is supporting a group of young people with lived experience of services to act as the Experts by Experience (EBE) Reference Group for this Review.

Other guests included Justice Minister, Naomi Long MLA, Colm Gildernew MLA, former Chair of the Health Committee, and Pam Cameron MLA, former Deputy Chair of the Health Committee. The event was sponsored by Carál Ní Chuilín MLA, and co-sponsored by Pam Cameron MLA and Paula Bradshaw MLA, who also attended.
Brandon and Rhianna welcome Paula Bradshaw MLA, Colm Gildernew MLA and Pam Cameron MLA to the Midsummer Tea Party

The event allowed young people to talk to decision makers about their campaign to bring about change in the language of care, and how we speak to (and about) young people in and leaving care. Party games included a ‘Call My Bluff’ style quiz, show how words associated with care have alternate meanings, and calling on attendees to change they way they talk about care.

Cara Hunter MLA plays the Language of Care quiz at Stormont

The event was organised as part of the MyVOYPIC membership scheme, funded by the Act for Change Fund. This fund comprises of the Paul Hamlyn FoundationEsmee Fairbairn FoundationNational Lottery Community Fund, and iWill Fund.


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