Participation - finding out what difference it makes

Practice site 6: Cornwall Young Carers' Project

1. Characteristics of service users involved

Service users are young people who have a caring role for a parent or grandparent who suffers from a long term illness, disability or have a dependency on alcohol or drugs.

2. How service user participation within the organisation is ensured

The project works to ensure that the young people who have a caring role have quality time to enjoy leisure activities, that schools are sensitive to the issues that face them, and all service providers are aware of problems that occur for these young people on a daily basis. Young people are involved in decisions about individual and group work within the project. They have also been closely involved in the design and development of project evaluations.

3. What policies on service user participation has the organisation formulated?

The project operates from a participative framework in which young people are encouraged and enabled to take part in shaping the direction of the project as a whole and the direction of individual work they may be involved with.

4. How are service users supported?

Two project workers and an administrator are funded to work on the project. They help with advice and information, practical support, liaison with professionals, personal support, outings and leisure activities and arranging time off.

5. How are the effects of participation monitored, audited, and evaluated?

Evaluation has been a major focus of the development of the project. There have been two major independent evaluations, the second of which built on the findings of the first. Findings from the first evaluation pointed to the need for development of administrative systems to support further evaluative work. Young people are closely involved in the design, delivery and dissemination of the evaluation. Evaluation uses an action research approach but recognises that this does not easily capture the cumulative benefits of the project.

6. A particular example of participation making a difference

The emerging evaluation strategy has been able to demonstrate the need for an on-going action research approach to the project while also recognising that impact is cumulative for many young people. Many of the young people have presented at conferences locally and nationally about the Project’s success.

7. Contact details

Contact person: Dawn Maddern

Address: 14 Chapel Street Camborne Cornwall TR14 8ED

Telephone: 01209 614955


Web address: