Jodie Stirrup, National Federation Of Young Farmers' Clubs

joide stirrupDescribe your role

I have been in my role for two and a half years based at the young farmer's national office in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. In my role I support young volunteers that are running young farmers clubs all over England and Wales. This involves work on policies and guidance that are essential when working with children and young people, an altogether more exciting part of my job is supporting our national youth forum made up of members from across our county federations, this group comes together three times a year to ensure that the younger members of our organisation are getting their voices heard and to ensure that they have chance to make real changes in their own organisation, after all young farmers is an organisation run by young people for young people.

Other elements of my role include working with other organisations to ensure services are available to our members when they need them and I also get involved with the huge competitions programme available to our members including activities like stock judging, flower arranging, pantomime performance, cooking, tug of war and public speaking to mention just a few, our members are extremely motivated and the standard of the competitions is extremely high.

What makes a good participation worker?

Someone who can adapt to a variety of situations, the ability to be open and honest is important and I think you really need to care about the projects you are asking young people to get involved with, your passion, excitement and enthusiasm will transfer onto them and the outcomes of the project.

What are the barriers to involving children and young people?

I think that if you truly care about the views of young people and want them to be involved there are no barriers too big to overcome. Many organisations find funding meetings with young people a struggle but with the use of social networking tools, blogs and vlogging the possibilities are endless.

What are the benefits?

Young people have amazing ideas, they see things differently, they are not afraid to point out the obvious or ask the questions adults won’t ask. Working in an organisation that is governed by members has its challenges but most importantly it is so refreshing and makes the workers supporting them more enthused to support members with their ideas.

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

Reach for the stars but at the same time be truthful about what you can achieve. Don’t just involve young people because it's good practice or to meet a set of standards, do it because they are fun to spend time with, they offer a fresh perspective and they are the future.

What is effective participation?

Getting involved because you want to not because you are told to.

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