Youth@CLC during a Pandemic
05 Jan 2021
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Youth@CLC, youth advisory panel of the Children’s Law Centre, continued essential work on REE Rights Responder and REE Live Chat alongside legal experts within CLC and tech team, DAMGEO. The Youth Advocates have since been awarded Runners Up in the Pearson’s World Changer Awards, Business and Technology category 2020.
The Pearson World Changer Awards were aimed at young people who were taking their learning to the next level with the goal of making a positive impact on the world. Youth@CLC highlighted their passion and commitment to children’s rights alongside examples of the impact they have had and how their education has inspired and supported their work.
Despite the difficult circumstances faced by all throughout 2020, Youth@CLC were involved at all stages of continued REE development, from deciding what it should be called, what colours it should use, what information should be included and how to make it accessible. So far, REE Rights Responder has reached over 2000 young people and is continuing to be improved each day.
Orla McGinnity, youth advocate with youth@clc during the development of REE said: “I have learnt so much and am so grateful for my time in youth@CLC and I always looked forward to every meeting! It is crazy how little I knew about my rights before I joined! I miss everyone at CLC a lot and hope REE continues to grow, I feel so proud to have been a part of it.”
Sinead McSorley, Youth Participation and Advocacy Worker with the Children’s Law Centre said: “I am so delighted our youth advocates are being recognised for their contribution to the development of REE Rights Responder and REE Live Chat. We in the Children’s Law Centre believe that young people’s voices are crucial, especially when developing a service for all young people in Northern Ireland – we would not have been able to get this far without their help, support and critical eye. I could not be more proud or fortunate to have worked with such a great group.”
What is REE Rights Responder & REE Live Chat?
REE Rights Responder is the first online legal chatbot designed for young people under 18 to ask questions about their rights in Northern Ireland. We found that when we searched for information on young people’s rights in NI, we always found information that was specific to English Law or written in complicated legal terms. REE uses Artificial Intelligence to answer questions from young people on their rights relating to mental health, employment, homelessness, and more.
REE Rights Responder is always there, always safe, always right, always anonymous, always confidential and never judgmental.
REE can also direct young people with more complicated questions to speak to a live legal advisor through REE Live Chat, an online live chat service designed to connect young people with complex legal questions to a live legal advisor within the Children’s Law Centre or to other organisations for different types of support.
What’s next for Youth@CLC?
Youth@CLC hope that this project could affect policy change as young people have a right to know and understand their rights – we hope our impact so far gives government an incentive to implement compulsory rights awareness raising sessions in schools and in the community.
Our Youth Advocates hope to inspire other young people to get engaged in projects affecting change in their communities, particularly those which aim to improve the knowledge and understanding of rights.
Throughout 2021, youth@CLC will continue creating and developing new content, information and advice services for young people including for younger children. To find out more about the group and to get involved click here.