A CHARITY is calling for youth volunteers as part of a drive to improve health and social services.

Healthwatch Darlington is encouraging young people to join their Youthwatch group after losing many of its members to university and full-time jobs.

The group gathers the views and opinions of the local community and looks at what is good about the services they use, as well as what they think is bad or concerning.

Michelle Thompson, Healthwatch Darlington Chief Executive Officer said: “Youthwatch sits within Healthwatch Darlington but is led and driven by the ideas of young people who want to make a difference to health and care services in Darlington.

“We are passionate about ensuring young people have a voice when it comes to health and care and we ensure they know their rights too. We’ve actively encouraged young people to be open and confident about expressing their views to ensure their voices are not only heard but acted upon."

Madi Scott, from Darlington, is now the only member of the group and is taking a lead role in Youthwatch Darlington.

The 18-year-old said: “I really like the aspect of helping people but I’m also gaining qualifications and my confidence is growing.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for other students, I’d encourage people to join.”

Jemma Austin, volunteer and outreach coordinator said: “I’m really excited to help young people join the group as it allows them to make a difference in their community and have their say on health and social care.

“It’s massively important to young people as it might not affect them directly, but it could affect a family member that uses health and social care services so will have an impact on them.

“It’s about making young people aware that they can have a voice when it comes to decision making and letting them know people will listen.”

To find out more email Jemma Austin at j.austin@healthwatchdarlington.co.uk