Our Inspiring Youth Conference encourages young people to "dream big"

Posted on Monday 28th October 2019
Isabelle Everest and Dr Ranj at the Evelina London Inspiring Youth Conference

Isabelle with Dr Ranj

A range of speakers at Evelina London's Inspiring Youth Conference have encouraged young people to pursue their goals and take control of their health.

Young people who attended Evelina London's Inspiring Youth Conference on Monday 21 October enjoyed uplifting speeches by a range of presenters, including TV doctors, Dr Ranj and Dr Ronx. Speakers also included inspirational patients, Isabelle Everest and Hannah Phillips, who explained how they had not let their health conditions get in the way of their dreams. Research scientists from King's College London spoke about the future of healthcare, and the audience was also treated to a bespoke poem, written especially for the conference, by spoken-word artist, Benna.

Now in its fourth year, the event was attended by current and former patients and young people who live in Lambeth and Southwark aged 11 to 16. During the conference, our young audience was encouraged to make their own voices heard by adding their suggestions to a "dream wall" and adding inspiring words to a "poetree". Interactive stalls allowed young people to learn more about scientific research and Evelina London's services. Many of our young audience members also had the chance to meet Dr Ranj and Dr Ronx, who were happy to answer questions and offered advice about pursuing careers in healthcare.

Dr Ranj, a Strictly Come Dancing star and friend of Evelina London, said: “It was a real honour to attend the Evelina London Inspiring Youth conference and to meet so many fantastic young people. It’s really important that we nurture and support young people to dream big and become the best they can be. Moving into adulthood can be a very tricky time so it’s also vital that they know how to stay healthy and be happy.”

Dr Ronx and Katie smiling at our Inspiring Youth Conference.Dr Ronx, presenter of children's TV show, Operation Ouch, said: “I wanted to show young people that regardless of your upbringing and background you can do anything you want to do, with the right help, passion and dedication. When I was growing up I didn’t see many people who looked like me in positions of power. I’m passionate about increasing visibility and encouraging young people not to put any limits on themselves. My motto is ‘you cannot be what you can’t see’.”

Isabelle Everest from St Leonards, in East Sussex, gave an inspirational speech about living with cerebral palsy and how she become a judo champion after undergoing life-changing care at Evelina London.

Isabelle, 13, said: “When I was little, my parents told me I could do anything I want, but I would just have to find a different way of doing it, and that’s exactly what I’ve done. Winning the European Pan-Disability Championships in 2017 and 2018 was amazing. I won silver at the last competition and I’m hoping to win gold again next year.

Dr Ronx with Evelina London patients Isabelle and Hannah.“I had a fantastic time at the Evelina London Inspiring Youth Conference. I really enjoyed meeting Dr Ranj and Dr Ronx and hearing how other young people overcame challenges they experienced in their life.”

Janet Powell, our Director of Nursing, said: “It was fantastic to welcome Dr Ranj and Dr Ronx to our Inspiring Youth Conference. At Evelina London we are here for our children and young people in every possible way, and we want to inspire them to always strive to do their very best. As they grow towards adulthood, it’s very important to us that they are able to look after their health and get the right support. Young people play a vital role in the running and development of our hospital and community services, and we want our patients to know that their views and ideas can and do make a real difference.”

Would you like to get involved in future events and in shaping our future?

There are lots of ways to contribute your ideas.

  • Join our Youth Forum, a group of patients and local young people who help us to grow and improve services.
  • Join our Parent and Carer Forum, a group for parents and carers who help us to grow and improve services.

If you are not interested in joining a forum, but have something to say, or would like to contribute in another way, please email elchengagement@gstt.nhs.uk to get touch.