The Eczema Outreach Support Youth Panel have been working with a leadership trainer to become the best leaders they can be.

The panel, set up earlier this year to make a positive difference to children and young people with eczema, have had group and individual sessions with John Loughton to work on their confidence and empower them to become better leaders.

The workshops are tailored for the group and John, a former Big Brother winner with a background in politics, was blown away by the EOS Youth Panel.

He said: “Everyone on the panel has eczema and at one point has felt excluded or different because of that but what has made them different has also empowered them. Their resilience is what makes them great leaders and that is what we discuss in the workshops. Leaders don’t have to be the big extrovert characters, leaders can be also be quiet or shy and anybody can be a great leader – your vulnerability can be your power.”

He added: “Teenagers and  young people are great to work with, not the difficult age some people think as they are so open to new ideas. But they need honestly and realness, they can see right through token gestures. I feel that by sharing my vulnerabilities with them it creates a safe space for them to be vulnerable and then they can own and empower those and change them from vulnerabilities to strengths.”

Hannah from the youth panel said she benefitted a lot from the workshops. She said: “John talked to us about the power of lived experience, self-image and identifying your passion.

“He helped us to identify our own management styles and gave us lots of practical tips on how to run a youth forum and chair meetings. It was really informative and inspiring.

It was also great to focus on how communication needs to be flexible depending on who we are working with and their leadership style”.