BY my reckoning, I am writing my 89th column for the Greenock Telegraph.

I knew exactly what I wanted to write about this morning when I sat at my desk.

So certain was I that I had covered this before, that I spent 30 minutes searching to delicately refer back to what I had already written and avoid actual duplication of my own former chat!

Post-search, it seems that I have not mentioned this, the subject of today’s column, before.

This still seems unlikely, so I will check again, but a deadline looms and so on we go.

Clyde Conversations is something that we do, really well, here in Inverclyde. Clyde Conversations is a forum through which we engage in conversations with the young people of Inverclyde about the things that matter to them.

Clyde Conversations emerged as a response to our Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Survey of 2013.

A rate of 84 per cent of Inverclyde’s secondary school pupils at that time participated in the survey, telling us how they felt about school, their relationships, their physical, mental, and emotional health, and the choices they were making or were about to make for their futures.

Such was the response, and the richness of the information our young people shared, that we decided to host an event to discuss the findings – schools, council services, partners from health, the police, the voluntary sector…meeting with our young people to ask the important “what now?” question.

Yes, our young people had provided a lot of quantitative information that we could use to plan services better, to justify doing X or Y in the future, but amongst the numbers were stories, unmet needs, successes that we couldn’t yet articulate and answers to questions we didn’t know we needed to ask.

A small number of staff formed a working group with pupils from each school, to plan the event. The survey was the starting point, and the young people determined the subject areas that we needed to discuss. They planned, and named, the first Clyde Conversations.

One of the most memorable changes that came from the first Clyde Conversations was that Sandyford, the sexual health service of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, realised the timings and location of their clinics in Inverclyde were not quite right for the needs of young people.

They were a bit remote for most schools and at a time where it would be tricky to get there in time after school finished. The discussion on the day between Nicky and Elaine from Sandyford, and our young people, prompted by “we can see from the survey that not many people know how to get to us” led to a change in venue, timings and ultimately accessibility for young people to health services that they may need.

The most significant thing that came from the first Clyde Conversations was the willingness and the commitment that it should not be a unique event. That it should become part of what we do, of how we communicate and exchange ideas.

Last week, I attended the sixth Clyde Conversations event, still planned by young people, where they had the opportunity to discuss, across their school communities, issues that still require attention.

Alcohol and drugs was a theme of CC1. For CC6, we have now added vaping as an emerging and difficult issue for young people.

Mental health is still one of the most significant prevailing priorities for our young people, and I was blown away by the discussions that I attended on this subject, where the real concerns, experiences and solutions of our young people were brought forward so constructively.

As a council officer, I was at the heart of birthing and developing this work. As a councillor, I still support this work.

I look forward to the “what next?” from this conversation, and the improvements that we can make together.

Working on deep, meaningful, relational consultation is at the core of my very being. Consultation should always be a conversation about the right things at the right time, using the right information. I wear my credentials about this very clearly and very proudly.