SEND - Special Educational Needs & Disability

Rights Squad

Young Voices Network

Quality Crew

Changing Young Lives

Get Involved

Welcome to Changing Young Lives

We support children and young people with disabilities to speak up for their rights
and be recognised as young people first, whatever their disability.

We enable children and young people to lead policy development and shape services and support so we can be in control of our own lives. We work locally and think nationally!

Hayden Kallay

Hayden Kallay

Name & Age:

Hayden Kallay, 18

Area:

Wolverhampton

Funny Fact:

I'm very matter of fact and if you tell me to pull my socks up, i'll pull my socks up!

Why is your work important to you?

It helps me gain work experience and get my views across, as some of the challenges faced by disabled youth I have experienced myself.

Lesley Acford

Lesley Acford

Name & Age:

Leslie Acford, 18

Area:

Wolverhampton

Funny Fact:

I can remember silly and weird facts, for example a shrimp is fitter then a human man.

Why is your work important to you?

I am changing peoples lives and I have been given lots of opportunities, which have allowed me to connect to the ‘real’ world and have experiences like everyone else.

Kashmire Hawker

Kashmire Hawker

Name & Age:

Kashmire Hawker, 17

Area:

Wolverhampton

Funny Fact:

A Fan of Little Mix!

Why is your work important to you?

The work is important as it puts the message out there that young disabled people can do brilliant things. It is also important because Changing Young Lives is developing me as an even stronger leader.

Samee Ahmed

Samee Ahmed

Name & Age:

Samee Ahmed, 15

Area:

Sandwell

Funny Fact:

I have loads of jokes and I love racing around in my wheelchair!

Why is your work important to you?

My work is important to me because I want to help other young people with disabilities gain more skills.

Caprice Haughton

Caprice Haughton

Name & Age:

Caprice Haughton, 17

Area:

Wolverhampton

Funny Fact:

I passed my Maths GSCE without knowing my 9x table, but can remember Pi to 6 decimal places and can quote the Human Rights Act!

Why is your work important to you?

A major goal of mine is to go into the profession of law, especially around equality and one day influence laws that are passed on the equality of people with disabilities. My work is the first step to educate me to do this and breakdown social barriers to become confident within myself, to voice my own opinions and those of others who's voices may not be heard.

Sam

Sam

Name & Age:

Sam, 15

Area:

Sandwell

Funny Fact:

I like to stand in the rain and get wet.

Why is your work important to you?

Learning new skills will help me to know how to do other things in the future and the work I do will help other people.

Matt Doleman

Matt Doleman

Name & Age:

Matt Doleman, 17

Area:

Sandwell

Funny Fact:

I am a stand up comedian, which is ironic as I use a wheelchair!

Why is your work important to you?

I want to speak up for myself and for the rights of other people. I committed to improving the lives of children and young people with disabilities.

Franco Montana

Franco Montana

Name & Age:

Franco Montana, 16

Area:

Wolverhampton

Funny Fact:

I love to make people laugh, sing along to music and pull funny faces.

Why is your work important to you?

It is not just me that I want to help but other people with disabilities too. We all have different abilities and there are other people that need more support in standing up for their rights. I understand what people with disabilities go through and I want to make a change for all of us.

Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson

Name & Age:

Alex Johnson, 19

Area:

Wolverhampton

Funny Fact:

My cerebral palsy causes me to walk in a wiggly fashion. However, after a shandy I can walk in a straight line!

Why is your work important to you?

I have ambitions of changing the world and believe that anything is achievable in life and no-one is too disabled.

Issy Brant

Issy Brant

Name & Age:

Issy Brant, 20

Area:

Sandwell

Funny Fact:

Everything that comes out of my mouth is funny. I like to make people happy!

Why is your work important to you?

I like to make a difference to peoples lives, make sure that every one lives an ordinary life and experiences good services and supports.

What's your flava?

What people are saying about us
  • Delegate, Council for Disabled Children Seminar

    The Changing Our Lives presentation was wonderful Lesley, you are a great public speaker. Of all of the presentations this morning, everyone is talking about yours!

    It's great that we are not just using co-production in the Act,but that we can see it in action through the work that CYL does.

    Lesley is really enthusiastic and passionate about the work that she does, a fantastic presentation.

     

  • Lucy Harris, Wolverhampton Information, Advice and Support Service Co-ordinator and Local Offer Project Manager, CYL Wolverhampton Launch

    I just wanted to say a massive congratulations to you and all the fantastic young people for putting together a fantastic and inspirational morning.  It’s been one of my most enjoyable occasions in my work.  The messages were profound and inspiring and I’m sure you will see lots of work as a result.

    You know that I am committed to the Local Offer being co-produced with parents and young people so I look forward to following that through with you.

  • Dreadlock Alien, Birmingham Poet Laureate 2006, Poets First Project

    I was honoured to work alongside the Changing Our Lives team on the arts outreach programme into schools. We arrived at each session armed with blank paper, pens and visitors badges and left each one with poems, smiles and memories.

  • Headteacher, Sandwell

    The workshop has made such a positive impact on the students. I’m shocked to have heard such emotional and personal poetry.

    It is important that their voices are heard and using poetry is a creative and engaging way to do this.

  • English Teacher, Wolverhampton

    I have never seen this class so engaged and interested in literature. I will definitely see my students in a different light now.

    I will be using poetry a lot more in my lessons and Dreadlock Alien has proved that it can be made engaging and fun!

  • Lesley Acford - Young Leader

    Since I was a kid people would say I lived in an ‘unreal’ world because I read A LOT and never went out or bothered with other people. But since I’ve been working with Changing Our Lives, I’ve been given lots of opportunities such as this one, which have allowed me to connect to the ‘real’ world and have experiences like everyone else.

    From taking the bus, to independent train travel, to using the London Underground, as well as being able to meet so many amazing and interesting people, allowing me to do awesome things.

  • Sam Hay, Complex Commissioning Manager, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

    The Ideas Festival was a great opportunity for young people and professionals to meet together. The event was full of inspirational and aspirational young people, keen to build a brighter future for themselves and their peers.

    The Young Leaders from Changing our Lives did an excellent job of facilitating including engaging adult partcipants in a range of creative workshops. A worthwhile use of everyone’s time!
    Keep up the good work…

  • Jim Brennan, Customer Services Manager for Sandwell MBC Neighbourhoods

    This was my first experience of an Ideas Festival, and to be honest, I was blown away by the positivity of everyone at the event. The confidence of the young people who were there was really impressive, and it made me realise how much more we could learn by properly listening to them and working with them as equals.

    The creative ways in which the workshops brought young people and adults together has given me some good ideas about how to take forward partnership working in the future.

  • Maria McCaffrey, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, 'Keep Up’ practice development sessions

    The session worked well because of Lesley and Kashmire's facilitation skills and personal accounts. A very powerful, informative training session.

  • Kate Brown, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, 'Keep Up’ practice development sessions

    I really enjoyed the session. It was fantastic to hear the views directly from the young people. Well done on a fantastically run session!

  • Kashmire Hawker, CYL Leader

    It's been a fab year with you guys.  I'll never forget the moment I arrived at the Changing Young Lives launch back on 4th April and got a huge cheer and applause as you'd found out about my MYP election!  It's been a pleasure in 2014 and truly cannot wait for 2015 to arrive to continue the brilliant work both CYL and COL do!

  • CYL Leader

    Changing Young Lives is a chance for young people with disabilities to say hang on a minute we don't like to be pushed down; we've been pushed down for long enough. People with disabilities are rising and when we do we will show you what we want and this might not be what you think we need.

  • CYL Leader

    It's important for young people to have a voice right across the country. Our voice needs to be put on a level playing field with adults who make decisions

CONTACT

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Changing Young Lives is part of the rights-based organisation Changing Our Lives that works in co-production with people with disabilities of all ages to achieve equality, good health and social inclusion.
Contact us

Phone: 0300 302 0770

E-Mail: [email protected]

Address: Changing Our Lives, 22-24 Hagley Mews, Hall Drive, Hagley, DY9 9LQ

Contact