Involving children and young people in developing social care
Case study 12: Loughborough Youth Affairs, Youth Service
Service provided by organisation
Works with young people aged 11-25 years to enhance their personal and social development as well as create and develop partnerships with other agencies. Currently operates approximately 40 groups.
Characteristics of children/young people involved
The core age group is between 13 and 19 years old and includes those not in education, refugees and asylum seekers, young people with mental health difficulties and disabled young people.
How participation has been developed
Giving young people a voice is a central principle of Loughborough Youth Affairs, and participation is deeply embedded in its practice.
Participation is written into the organisation's mission statement, and through the project, the county council has adopted a youth charter written by young people.
The project has an open door policy to new members, and groups are accessible to the individual communities that they work with. Service delivery plans are developed with young people at the beginning of the work, and each group receives training about political campaigning and influence. Issues being addressed by current groups include:
- the establishment of a youth council to influence local decision-making
- Asian men's views about police stop-and-search
- asylum seeker's experiences of living in Loughborough.
Groups have also produced reports and held presentation events with MPs and local decision-makers.
Every 12 weeks, staff and young people in different groups assess what they have done and what they want to do. Young people can attend and contribute to any staff meeting. Many of the projects are run by young volunteers. Loughborough Youth Affairs also runs workshops about participation for outside organisations; these have included the involvement of young people as facilitators.
Changes or improvements as a result of children and young people's participation
- Local services reflect what young people want and are better able to meet their needs.
- Groups have fed into the development of local strategies concerning youth crime, which has developed positive relations with local police.
Evidence of outcomes from participation
The project has produced the following documentation to evidence the development of participation:
- evaluations by county hall and Ofsted.
- mission statement
- ' Land of Dreams ' report produced by asylum seekers group.
Contact person and role: Andrew Lake (area youth work coordinator)
Address: Mountfields Lodge Youth Centre, Epinal Way, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3GE
Telephone: 01509 236 043