Local NHS health providers, commissioners and the voluntary sector, teamed up to help young people on their health care journey today at Bradford City Football Club. Your Future, Your Health is a free one day event, which welcomed 800 young visitors.

Each young person received a health passport and was challenged to collect stamps from a range of info zones.  In each zone experts from Airedale and Bradford Hospitals, Bradford District Care Trust’s community health teams, the Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Barnardo’s and the Bradford Youth Development Partnership were on hand to offer tips and advice.   Zones included: Careers, Let’s Keep Healthy, Let’s Get Involved, and Let’s Stay Active. The zones tackled issues such as emotional health and wellbeing, sexual health and relationships, drug awareness, the effects of smoking and drinking and NHS careers. There was also CPR demos, games and a rap artist on hand to develop work based on young people’s views of healthcare.

In the Let’s Get Involved zone the Young Dynamos were encouraging people to join their research group. Amelia Shinners,16, said: “Young people think differently to adults and it’s important that we get involved in influencing the services aimed at us.” Davina Puri, 17, added: “It’s a privilege to be involved, but it shouldn’t be this way, everyone has the right to have their say. I hope what we’re doing is going to make a difference for young people in the future.”

With the help of graffiti artist Ged Walker young people put marker pen to vinyl record to answer the questions ‘what do the words mental health mean to you’ and ‘what effects your health and well-being.’

Young people also had the chance to grill top bosses from across local NHS services in two ‘Question Time’ style panels about the things that matter to them. A&E waiting times, media reports about nursing shortages and NHS careers were some of the issues raised. Iqtidar, 16, a sixth form student at Laisterdyke College said: “I’ve found today really helpful and got lots of information. I am interested in a career in pharmacy or medicine. I asked about jobs in the NHS and the Chief Execs gave me some good advice about alternative routes and courses I’ve not considered.”

Andy McElligott, Medical Director at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, and one of the panel members said: “We wanted to give young people an opportunity to voice their opinions on healthcare and have access to credible advice on issues that may affect them.  Some young people will leave thinking about a career in the NHS, or about becoming a volunteer or trust member. Others will leave with free, confidential advice to help them stay active, healthy and safe. It’s the first ever joint event of its kind locally, so as partners we’ll be interested in the feedback we receive and will look at how we can use this to improve our local services.  Our goal is to get young people actively involved in their own healthy futures.”