Involving children and young people in developing social care
Case study 10: Freaky Fabulous Funky Fun (4F) Centre, Barnardo's Catalyst Service
Service provided by organisation
The 4F Centre is an inclusive play centre, part of the Catalyst Service. The latter is a community development project that promotes the inclusion of disabled children/young people and enables them to access community facilities and activities. The service also works with local statutory and voluntary services to ensure that the needs of children/young people and their families are met.
Characteristics of children/young people involved
The play centre is aimed at children aged 5-13 years old, and is an inclusive service for both disabled and non-disabled children.
How participation has been developed
The play centre was open in 2004 and was built in consultation with local children aged 5-13. Creative methods were used to gather the views of children about the centre, including the graphics and name for it, the plan of the centre and the equipment/activities that should be available.
A slogan for involving children has been designed by the children, as have the rules of the centre, both of which are included in the project's publicity material. Children are able to decide what activities they would like to do at the centre; the only restrictions imposed are to ensure their safety.
The centre has sought advice from the regional participation worker and consulted participation toolkits about how to involve children. Three young disabled people are employed by the service to attend staff meetings and to contribute to the delivery of the service and other developmental groups within the borough. These young people receive training to develop such things as communication skills. The centre is now aiming to have a central forum of children to inform the future development of the project and evaluate other local projects.
Changes or improvements as a result of children and young people's participation
- More responsive to children's needs and offers an appropriate service.
'You can ask them if they can get something if they don't have it. I asked them for a doll and they talked to me about getting it. Now they have dolls.' (Young person)
- Children have sense of ownership of the project and it is well used and respected in the local community.
- Children/young people feel more able to contribute their views, etc.
- Staff and colleagues are more children/young people-focused.
Evidence of outcomes from participation
The project has produced the following documentation to evidence the development of participation:
- report on the consultation process with children
- project aims, including the participation of children and young people in service development and voicing individual and collective concerns
- young people's rules for service.
Contact person and role: Ken Williams ( CSM )
Address: The Freaky Fabulous Funky Fun Centre, Old Lane, Warrington Road, Rainhill L35 0NE
Telephone: 0151 426 9115