Involving children and young people in developing social care

Case study 17: Wakefield Children's Grants, Wakefield Children's Fund and Barnardo's

Service provided by organisation

The Children's Fund is a national government scheme that provides services and support to children and young people aged 5 to 13 years old who are at most risk of social exclusion.

Characteristics of children/young people involved

Currently 34 young people aged 11-14 are involved in four grant-giving panels, and a total of over 1000 children have been involved in designing information, applying for grants, and judging applications.

How participation has been developed

The Children's Grants initiative was set up in June 2003 to involve children throughout the process of grant allocation and application. A group of young people initially met regularly to develop publicity and application information about the initiative and launched a children's logo competition.

The grant application is flexible and can involve pictures/scrapbooks showing the ways that a project would benefit from funding. The key criteria is that the application must be child- rather than adult-led. Using a checklist, the children's grants panel decide whether a grant should be awarded and, if so, for how much (awards range from £200 to £2,000).

The first grant was awarded by the panel in April 2004. The initiative has since grown to involve four young people's judging panels and is managed by a participation officer.

Participation of young people is a key principle of the Children's Fund: it organises a participation network for key practitioners in Wakefield, participation is highlighted in all job descriptions and children are involved in the recruitment of all staff. As part of the criteria for funding, all Children's Fund projects must be able to demonstrate a commitment to participation.

Change or improvement as a result of children and young people's participation

We can make sure that it is young people who write the applications. We know what young people want better than adults so can make sure that money is given out properly. We understand more and are less harsh than some adults can be on applications. This has worked because we are given the chance to make decisions.

Young person

Evidence of outcomes from participation

The project has produced the following documentation to evidence the development of participation:

Contact details

Contact person and role: Caroline Free (participation officer)

Address: WCF, ground floor, Fell House, Market Street, Wakefield WF1 1DF

Telephone: 01924 380 165