Clare Hodder, Asthma UK

Claire HodderClare Hodder, Youth Engagement Officer, Asthma UK

Describe your role

I’m responsible for growing Asthma UK’s engagement with young adults, by managing projects which focus on empowering them to manage their condition and reduce feelings of isolation. It’s my role to ensure that the views of young people are heard across the organisation when developing and delivering new projects or in our policy and campaigning work.I am currently building on existing work with young volunteers and continuing to grow Asthma UK’s brand new befriending scheme for which I deliver volunteer training and supervision. I am also a safeguarding officer and at present I’m developing Asthma UK’s Vulnerable Adults policy.

What makes a good participation worker?

I can’t emphasise enough how important it is that children and young people feel that their opinions are heard and appreciated and that they feel empowered to contribute – and that what they say will genuinely make a difference. Feeding back on how their ideas have impacted on your organisation’s work is a good way of showing that their opinion is valued.

What are the barriers to involving children and young people?

At Asthma UK, their health can be a big barrier to participation and it’s really important that we support them to be able to attend our events and ensure that we provide a safe and asthma-friendly environment.

What are the benefits?

It’s an opportunity to build the confidence and self-esteem of young people, to help them feel worthwhile and that they can make a change. It’s great for them to give something back to their community and develop their communications skills.

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

Listening, really listening is important and also acting on what they say. When running sessions it’s important to consider the differences in the ways in which everyone processes information and using a variety of verbal, audio and visual tools to – it sounds basic but sometimes we can forget that each person learns differently.

What is effective participation?

Letting children and young people lead the way, giving everyone the opportunity to express their opinion and the choice and freedom to contribute how and when they want.

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