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Georgia’s story

Young Person  

The idea of ‘bringing your whole self to work’ has become something of a corporate trend in recent years. But for Georgia Willmott, tearing down the wall between your professional and personal lives is just business as usual.

As a Youth Advocate, it’s Georgia’s job to ensure that YSAS is meeting the needs of young people. And to do that, they start by holding their own lived experiences up to the light.

“I have PTSD and anxiety,” says Georgia, who uses they/them pronouns. “I’m also genderqueer and bisexual.” Instead of checking these parts of their identity at the door, Georgia uses them to assess YSAS’s performance. “Basically, I review how YSAS works, then I reflect on my own lived experiences to ask, Is this appropriate for young people? Do we need to make any changes?’”

In addition to drawing on their own experiences, Georgia also seeks out the opinions of the young people who use YSAS services. Recently, they’ve been busy promoting information and access improvements which will help clients provide feedback on their experiences safely and securely. The new client satisfaction survey, will help YSAS monitor how well it’s meeting its clients’ needs.

Georgia says the inspiration behind this project was personal. “When I was younger, I used a youth service outside of YSAS, and I had feedback and complaints that just kept snowballing over time. I had no outlet for me to share how I felt, and I knew if I told my youth worker they would take it personally and nothing would be done.”

At YSAS, Georgia says, things are different. “It’s really important to me that young people know they can share their feedback and complaints. Because we want to be a better service. We want to grow.” Youth Advocates like Georgia are one way YSAS is doing this; the improved feedback system is another. “When feedback is recorded, we can put in a policy and train staff about how to do things that don’t cause unintentional harm.”

The results, Georgia says, are obvious: services and support tailored to the needs of young people. And it takes a lot of hard work – not just from Georgia and their fellow Youth Advocates, but from management at all levels – to achieve this. “YSAS is a big organisation, and it can be a bit slow to roll out certain things,” Georgia says. “But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because we really focus on quality. We want things to work for young people. So we take the time to do that.”

Georgia Willmott

YSAS Youth Advocate

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