Eurochild Conference in Brussells for Liverpool School Students

A Liverpool schoolgirl showcased the city’s award-winning D-MYST smokefree youth initiative earlier this week to an audience of leading academics, children’s rights lawyers, and policy makers in Brussels.

Maia Gaynor, 15, a student from Belvedere Academy and part of D-MYST was invited to present as a guest speaker at a Eurochild Conference on Protecting Children’s Rights as Consumers on Monday 15th September.

The conference aimed to explore how advertising and marketing can effect children and young people, with a particular focus on the promotion of tobacco, alcohol, and unhealthy foods.

D-MYST (Direct Movement by the Youth Smokefree Team) is an action group, run by and for young people in Liverpool, which aims to voice their opinions about the way big tobacco companies target young people.

Maia was joined on the trip by Jeff Dunn, Director for Liverpool Schools Parliament, and three of their student representatives who also took part in a panel discussion alongside Maia, as well as by Anna Beaumont, Communications Manager for Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust.

Maia said of the experience to present overseas;

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to take D-MYST to Brussels and to share some of our work in campaigning about the way big tobacco companies target young people like me.”

“I presented about how we have successfully campaigned on issues like plain packaging on cigarettes and de-normalising smoking on television programmes which young people watch like EastEnders or Coronation Street, and everyone seemed really impressed with what we are doing.”

Anna Beaumont, Communications & Marketing Manager for Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust said,

“The conference was a really fantastic opportunity for some of our young people from Liverpool to share their learning from the D-MYST project with leading experts from across Europe.

“As well as being a great experience for the young people involved, it was also really exciting to see the work of D-MYST being recognised as a bench mark for other organisations on how youth advocacy groups can effectively campaign on important public health issues.”

D-MYST has been campaigning against the tobacco industry and spreading smokefree messages in Liverpool since 2005, and won a World Health Organisation ‘No Tobacco Day Award’ in 2009 for its work making “a powerful impact on tobacco issues”.

For more information on the D-MYST project, please visit:

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