Philip Lydon, Sandwell Children's Fund

Describe your role
I aim to increase the involvement of children and young people in the design and delivery of services. I do this through offering support, advice, and training and by developing and promoting good practice. I also produce resources such as the soon to be completed recruitment toolkit.

What makes a good participation worker?
Somebody who listens and supports children and young people, who believes in them and is ready to stand up for them.

What are the barriers to involving children and young people?
One of the main barriers I have come across are adults who see the opinions and thoughts of children and young people as a threat, when in reality they enhance and improve the way we work and the services we provide.

What are the benefits?
Of course there are many. The benefit I would like to highlight is participation as a way of engaging children and young people who do not usually engage - I have often seen them gain the most from participating in decision-making. Giving children and young people responsibilities seems to have the most impact on those who never usually get them.

What tips do you have for effective participation of children and young people?
Capacity building and support for children and young people, but also for adults, who for most, are having to change the way they work.
For services and organisations to build participation into their values, structures and procedures.

What is effective participation?
Where positive change occurs because of the participation of children and young people and it’s there for everyone to see.

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