Chantelle Lindo, The Change Collective

Chantelle Lindo

Describe your role

I am founder of The Change Collective, a community interest company that unites Practitioners in their commitment to using creativity as a tool for social change. We deliver a wide range of projects for vulnerable community groups using film, photography, theatre and visual arts. All projects are designed in consultation with the participants to ensure we meet their expectations and deliver a programme that is relevant, informative and engaging. Young people are able to explore social issues through a range of creative practices to allow space for dialogue, experimentation, imagination and risk. This way, ideas can be generated organically and investigated safely. We are currently planning our 2nd Annual Emerge and Exist Conference; the theme is Collective Voices and will provide an opportunity for those who are seldom heard to have a voice about issues that directly affect them and make a call for change.

I am also a development worker for The Children’s Society Include Programme, which offers information, training and support to both statutory and voluntary sectors working to support children, and young people who care for parents or siblings who suffer from chronic illness or disability. I lead on the Affecting Change for Families project which is funded by the Elton John Aids Foundation and focuses on supporting young carers and their families affected by HIV. We campaign for change and promote best practice with central and local government and work in partnership with social workers, teachers and health care professionals to deliver solutions that consider the needs of the whole family.

I am also a development worker for The Children’s Society Include Programme, which offers information, training and support to both statutory and voluntary sectors working to support children, and young people who care for parents or siblings who suffer from chronic illness or disability.

What makes a good participation worker?

Someone who is incredibly passionate about what they do and is able to fully listen and understand the needs of the communities they are working with. Creativity is so important. Being able to integrate creative processes in participation work can enable the voices of young people and places them at the centre of a process that encourages sustainable change. It is crucial that the young people I work with can not only see that their opinions are being heard but that it will inform action.

What are the barriers to involving children and young people?

It can be difficult to reach some of the vulnerable young people that I work with. Due to the stigma surrounding these communities practitioners can find it difficult to balance the young people’s needs for confidentiality without further reinforcing stigma by treating their issues as a secret. To break down these barriers it is important to maintain strong relationships with communities, families and other organisations to build up a network of support and educate the wider community. 

What are the benefits?

Enabling young people to realise their full potential. The young people are best placed to identify their needs, therefore if participative work is designed in response to these specifically and it places them at the centre of a creative learning process the benefits are endless!

What tips do you have for effective participation of children and young people?

Ensure that they are at the heart of what you do, involve them in planning and development, listen to them through reflection, be honest and make it fun!

What is effective participation?

For me, effective participation is where young people and communities can work together equally, are able to fully engage with the process and have a meaningful experience. I am realising more and more that it is about a journey of change and needs to be seen as a long term process.

Participation Works is a partnership of…
British Youth CouncilChildren's Rights Alliance for EnglandKIDSNational Council for Voluntary Youth ServicesNational Youth AgencyNCB