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On Saturday 31st January, ERIC invited a group of young people and their families to the charity's office in Bristol to spend a day cooking and eating with Steen the Chef and Elin Haf Davies, adventurer and paediatric nurse.

This was the third event ERIC held backed by a grant from BBC Children in Need. The aim of bringing the group of children together is to establish a panel of children with continence issues who can use their experiences to shape the services and information ERIC provides.

Confidence through cooking

Having tried out circus skills and bushcraft activities at the previous two workshops, the challenge this time was to prepare a healthy breakfast and lunch for 20 people. After poring over recipes, chopping, peeling and frying, the end results were truly delicious! Steen has a huge amount of experience working with young people; combining his love of cookery with helping them build skills, confidence and independence.

One parent summed up how they found the experience: "What an incredible meal we all made together. It really helped to bring people together. Seeing the kids and adults working together was a joy and I think we all left with a great sense of pride and achievement. A truly inclusive event which everyone was able to contribute toward and ultimately benefit from!”

Shaping ERIC

Sebastian, 14, addressed the group sharing his story of living with day and night time wetting from a young age. Elin and Brenda, the ERIC nurse, led a group discussion about living with a bowel or bladder difficulty.

Having got to know each other and shared the same challenges on the previous days, the young people were able to speak openly about the impact their continence problems have on their lives. They reflected on how they could use their own experiences to help shape the support and information ERIC offers to young people like themselves, ensuring it is tailored to their needs and in the language they use. Lots of exciting ideas were put forward that will be built on as Young ERIC progresses.

The Parents' Panel

Meanwhile, Jayne and Alina, who both work on the ERIC helpline, spent time talking to the parents and getting their take on the services ERIC currently provides for its users and how best to publicise a national ‘Parents Panel’ in the future to run alongside ‘Young Eric’.

Peer support

Commenting on the day, Elin said: "Day three was fantastic! All the young people have clearly formed strong friendships with others in the group. It is great to know that they now have that peer support system in place. They were also able to verbalise very well how ERIC can go on to help them, and other young people with similar needs. I’m sure that these young people will go on to be champions for their cause. A delight to work with them!”

As the day closed, one of the participants spoke about how she has found the whole experience so far: "The three sessions have been very helpful, as well as fun! On the first session we got to know everyone: children and adults. It is very interesting and supporting when you meet people with similar problems and issues. All of them were kind and I enjoyed spending time with them. I am looking forward to next time we meet up.”

Click here for more information about ERIC's Parent's Panel.