Staff and young people came together at County Hall in Taunton, to celebrate the achievements of a very special young person, our youth voice superhero, Josh Lancaster!

Josh is unique in youth voice by being a member of the Unstoppables, Somerset Youth Parliament, Youth Forum and Children and Young People’s Self Advocacy (CYPSA). Such is Josh’s passion for youth voice, Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) and the difference that young people can make to the services that they use, that if he’s eligible for a group he’ll not only join but will also be actively involved in that group and every topic tackled.

Josh helped with the interview process for the Chief Executive role at Somerset. He also provided his voice on a variety of films and animations for youth culture on drugs and alcohol for the Somerset Drugs and Alcohol Service (SDAS), the Unstoppables, and for young people supported in the Somerset Youth Justice Services.

The celebration took place on Friday 16th February and was attended by members of the Engagement and Participation team, Chief Executive at Somerset Council Duncan Sharkey, Executive Director for Children, Families and Education at Somerset Council Claire Winter, Cllr Bill Revan’s and members of some of the youth voice groups that Josh attends.

The celebration kicked off with speeches from Claire Winter and each member of the Engagement and Participation team detailing their appreciation for everything that Josh does. Josh was later awarded a certificate thanking him for everything that he has done. Thank you, Josh!

Below is a list of the groups linked to the Council and that Josh has been involved in, and you can be too!

  • The Youth Forum meets monthly over Teams, providing a platform for young people in Somerset to discuss topics affecting them, share their views, and influence services for their safety.
  • The Somerset Youth Parliament collaborates with decision-makers to advocate for change and better outcomes, guided by values of democracy and equality.
  • The Unstoppables supports young people aged 13-25 with special needs to voice their concerns and shape service improvements. CYPSA empowers young people aged 0-25 with special needs in the Southwest to advocate for improved health outcomes.

For more information on the Somerset Council Engagement and Participation team or one of our Youth VPhoto Of Josh with members of Somerset Counciloice groups, please contact

Photo Of Josh with members of Somerset Council

About this article

February 29, 2024

Molly Venn