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Funky Dragon is the Children and Young Peoples Assembly for Wales

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					Annex 2                                                         SF-JH 0112-09



Funky Dragon Children and Young People Cabinet Committee Briefing

Meeting – 11th May 2009

FD’s Aims and Objectives

Funky Dragon is the Children and Young People’s Assembly for Wales. The
organisation was established as a charity in 2004. Funky Dragon’s main aim is to
provide an opportunity for 0 – 25 year olds to get their voices heard on issues
that affect them. Funky Dragon aims to promote the rights of children and
young people to participate in decisions that affect them and encourage active
citizenship in Wales at local and national levels. In order to fulfil these aims
the organisation follows the following objectives:
      To undertake consultations with children and young people around
        relevant policies, strategies and initiatives and to pass on the outcomes
        to the relevant people.
      To work with local forums and other participation based organisations
        and groups to ensure effective participation of children and young
        people.
      To provide links with similar organisations in England, Scotland and
        Northern Ireland, with relevant UK wide bodies, in Europe and beyond.
      To participate in monitoring and reporting processes around the UN
        Convention on the Rights of the Child in Wales
      To work in partnership with the Assembly in exchanging information,
        developing accessible briefing and in planning and running annual
        gatherings
      To provide information and training materials to support consultations
        with children and young people.
      To maintain regular contact with children and young people particularly
        through the Funky Dragon website.

One of the most important things about Funky Dragon is that it is a young
people led organisation. As an organisation committed to Article 12 of the
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (which states that
children and young people should be included and listened to on all decisions
which affect them), FD believes it is vital that we are led by young people.
Our board of trustees (referred to as the management committee) is made up
of 4 adults and 8 young people; 4 who are aged 18 – 25, and 4 who are aged 11
– 18 (making us the first charity in UK history to have under 18s on our board).

This management committee is responsible for approving the workplan of the
organisation and regularly monitoring staff activity.     They also monitor
expenditure and all other aspects of the functions of the organisation. This
principle of young people leading the way is followed throughout the work of



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Annex 2                                                         SF-JH 0112-09


the organisation. Each residential is organized and facilitated by members of
the Grand Council, with support and supervision of FD staff as requested.

FD’s Structure

We have 88 places for young people representing their local authorities. The
aim is to have four young people from each local authority, one to represent
the statutory sector, one from the voluntary sector, one from school councils,
and one to represent ‘equality’ groups within that local authority.

This ‘equality’ space is a recent inclusion in Funky Dragon’s structure, and only
came into place at our AGM in July 2008. Previously the Grand Council had
included 8 spaces for young people to represent national networks of ‘specific
interest’ groups (e.g. disabled young people, looked after young people, young
carers etc.) Young people elected into these spaces proposed a change to
Funky dragon’s structure, which they felt would better represent their voice;
and so the ‘equality’ rep was added to the Grand Council’s structure.

The name ‘Equality’ was chosen to encompass the particular needs of young
people with specific interests by their representatives on Funky Dragon.
Rather than being elected onto the Grand Council at the AGM an additional
fourth place (for an equality rep) will be offered to each local authority youth
forum/council. The purpose of this is to increase opportunities for the direct
voices of young people representing specific issues and to level the election
playing field with other Grand Council members.

Each local authority is responsible for electing their representatives for the
Grand Council. Although not all Local Authorities in Wales have youth forums
in place currently.

In 2003 funding was secured from Comic Relief for a three year grant to employ
a ‘Specific Interest Worker’. When the funding ran out in 2006, it moved over
to ESF funding. The post was made redundant last year when the change to
the structure of the Grand Council took place, and there was no further
funding available to keep the post secure.


Our Rights, Our Story


Every 5 years, Wales has to report to the United Nations (UN) as to how the
UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) is being followed
by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG). As part of this process it is usual
for 2 reports to be submitted: one from government and one from NGO’s.
There is also the opportunity for children and young people themselves to
report directly to the UN Committee, although this opportunity is rarely taken.


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Annex 2                                                        SF-JH 0112-09



FD established a steering group made up of young people who designed and led
the research, analysis and writing of the first ever Welsh children and young
people’s report. Since the submission of the report in 2007, and a formal
meeting with the UN Committee in Geneva in 2008, the UK have received a list
of 124 recommendations (known as ‘concluding observations’) to the UK
government; and the Welsh Assembly government has responded formally to
FD’s two reports.

Currently FD young people are working on prioritising their work around these
recommendations, and establishing a workplan in this area. As all members of
the original steering group have now left the Grand Council, it is intended to
establish a new steering group for the project in October 2009. At their last
residential in April, the members of the Grand Council looked at all of the
‘concluding observations’ and divided them into 3 groups: those which they felt
it was not possible or appropriate for FD to work on; those which they were
unsure about; and those which they felt should definitely be areas of priority
for the work of Funky Dragon. There are approximately 50 concluding
observations that the Grand Council want to take forward, some of which
include:

      Make sure that the UNCRC is put into practice in a well-organised way
       across the whole country. This includes making sure it happens in local
       areas, because councils have many powers in relation to children.

      Think again about the use of the mosquito device and other measures as
       they may go against the rights of children to move around freely and to
       gather together

      Carry out research into why teenagers use drugs and alcohol so that
       programmes can be developed to reduce the level of drug and alcohol
       use

      Do more to make sure all children can enjoy their right to rest and play,
       and to take part in leisure and cultural activities. These activities
       should be appropriate for all different age groups (ranging from little
       children to teenagers).


The Grand Council will now prepare a plan as to how Funky Dragon can take
forward these concluding observations. The steering group will also prepare
for the next report to the UN for the reporting process in 2013.




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