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Carly’s story

Carly is 23 and has Cerebral Palsy, learning disabilities and visual impairment. She shares how Kids has helped with her confidence and empowered her to use her voice to advocate for other young disabled people.

Hi I am Carly and I have been with the Young People’s Participation Team for about five years. This group is all about making sure that we are involved when decisions that affect our lives are being made. We get to talk to health professionals and people who work for local authorities so that we can share our experiences and it helps them to understand how their decisions make a difference to our lives. I joined this group because I saw a Kids presentation about having a voice – it inspired me to want to join in and get involved.

At first I was shy and didn’t know anyone. As the months went on I got to know people and made friends in the group. I even helped someone else who wasn’t confident to have his voice heard speak out.

There was one particular session where he had a great idea and didn’t want to say anything, but he wrote it down and I held it up and said it for him. Everyone is so supportive and makes sure that we are all included in what we are doing. Although I became more confident and started to build up my excitement for the presentations that our team deliver. We had a session with professionals from across a local authority. I loved speaking to the room full of people and this boosted me even more.

Being in front of these people, telling them about participation, communication, and how to involve young people was so good. I have developed so many skills and now the confidence to use them which has helped me in college as well as finding work.

I would never have had this opportunity and made this much change in my life without Kids. It has shown me the importance of raising people’s awareness of different disabilities and giving everyone a voice.

I’ve also been involved in helping Kids to recruit new staff. This was a great experience, helping me understand about getting a job, interviews and helped me increase my confidence in travelling as well. I was still nervous but Kids has shown me that with the right support I can achieve more than I or anyone ever expected.

Carly is standing in a garden, looking down at a big sign that reads 'Participation is having opportunities to be part of decisions that are important to you and may lead to changes'.