Changing Our Lives have developed and facilitate Wolverhampton Challenge Board. The aim of the board is to make sure young people with the label of special educational needs and disability (SEND) have good lives. The board is unique to the city as it is a strategic body for young people with the label of SEND to influence decision making at a strategic level. The board is not about consultation; it is about achieving outcomes!

On December 8th 2017 the Challenge Board’s first ‘Ordinary Life’ White Paper was launched.  This paper emerged out of a desire from the board to make a good, ordinary life a reality for all young people in the city. The event was opened by Val Gibson, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, City of Wolverhampton Council.

“As a city we need to work with and empower young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families to take control over their lives and challenge the status quo. Young people are part of the solution and we need to listen to their aspirations and understand their needs so we can plan and commission for a new generation.”

The White Paper focuses on 3 areas; Employment, Friendships and Real Talk. Real Talk is the language expressed by young people when referring to attitudes and expectation placed upon them.

“We experience negative attitudes from others, low expectations about what we can achieve as adults and exclusion from ordinary community life. These things limit our life experiences, opportunities, personal development and affect our self-esteem, self-confidence and how we see our futures.”

The White Paper will be discussed at the city’s first SEND and Commissioning Partnership Board of 2018 where the focus will be placed on solutions and outcomes emerging from the 102 young people across the city involved in the shaping of the paper.