Lindsay Allen, East Midlands Voluntary Youth

Describe your role
I am the East Midlands regional co-ordinator for PWNE and East Midlands Voluntary Youth (EMVY). I support the developing network of participation workers and am able to work with many frontline organisations who are doing some fabulous work that has the participation of children & young people at its heart. I am also privileged to be able to showcase this work at a regional and national level and share good practice, developing some of it into materials such as a DVD around participation in induction with an excellent  cross sector team from across the East Midlands.

What makes a good participation worker?
Someone who:

  • Puts children & young people at the centre of what they do.
  • Not only listens by hears the messages that young people want to portray.
  • Respects views and opinions
  • Has a good sense of humour
  • Fully understands the needs, rights and views of young people
  • As one of local young people’s groups put it “someone who smiles, is positive  and happy". 

What are the barriers?
Senior managers who may not understand the benefits
Limited time within a project or a process that doesn’t allow for effective participation
Organisational culture has not been to enable participation
Systems within an not being appropriate to allow the voices of young people to be heard

What are the benefits?
Children and young people’s participation shapes better services and enables services to better meet the needs of children and young people. Children and young people derive respect and pride by being invcolved in  decision-making.

What tips do you have for effective participation?
Work with the creativity of children & young people and spend time building relationships and trust. Jointly design interesting ways to make the tasks fun and age appropriate.

What is effective participation?
Children & young people are respected, where ideas and views can be openly shared and everyone works hard to get positive results.

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