The challenge

Renowned national youth charity The Prince’s Trust recognised the need to incorporate authentic youth perspectives into its Health and Social Care Programme, a service which offers young people free training courses, mentoring, and funding to help them find a job in healthcare. The aim was to use youth participation principles to create a more impactful and relevant experience for young people by involving them directly in shaping the programme’s offer. 

The Prince’s Trust enlisted Participation People to gather a team of Young Champions, a group of young people who would be empowered to offer their own insights to help make improvements for other young people accessing the Prince’s Trust Health and Social Care Programme.

The solution

Working hand in hand with the Prince’s Trust, our team embarked on a journey to recruit, train, and support 25 passionate and talented young individuals as Prince’s Trust Young Champions. These champions were tasked with becoming the voices of their peers and advocating for them across the programme.

The Young Champions underwent comprehensive training to equip them with facilitation skills, communication techniques, and project management capabilities. With a deep understanding of the programme’s objectives, they were then prepared to engage and empower their fellow young participants, for the benefit of the Health and Social Care Programme.

We were able to gather a truly diverse group with members from different parts of England, many of whom had migrated from various other countries. This vibrant mix of backgrounds and experiences added richness to the collective dynamic.

Our members also encompassed a wide spectrum of needs, ranging from chronic fatigue, epilepsy, to severe mental health difficulties. We strove to accommodate all of the group’s unique requirements, providing personalised support through one-on-one meetings, online sessions, and in-person gatherings, to ensure that every member was valued, heard, and empowered to participate fully.

Results

The Prince’s Trust Young Champions proved to be exceptional ambassadors, showcasing their experiences and impacting the organisation in various ways:

  • Himani, Marshal, Billy, and Jason attended content days with the Prince’s Trust, capturing marketing content to highlight their personal experiences with the programme. Their authentic and relatable stories inspired even more others to engage with the Prince’s Trust.
  • Himani took part in a fundraiser’s brunch, engaging with stakeholders and sharing her journey with the Prince’s Trust. Her presence and powerful storytelling helped foster stronger connections between the organisation and its supporters.
  • Kristabel shared her journey with the Prince’s Trust during a webinar, providing valuable insights and inspiring other young people to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the programme.
  • Himani, Marshal, Billy, and Jason joined forces to form the leadership team in the Youth Committee. Their collaborative efforts ensured that youth voice was integrated into decision-making processes. They will also be hosting the selection day for Year three (recruiting the next round of Young Champions) actively shaping the programme’s future.
  • Funmi, one of the Young Champions, achieved remarkable recognition by winning the Prince’s Trust National Rising Star Award, meeting the King. Her accomplishment showcased the incredible potential and talent within the Prince’s Trust Young Champions cohort.

The young people made an impact on an individual level, and also as a group. Over the course of two years, our Young Champions committee actively gathered feedback from individuals who had previously participated in the programme, or expressed interest in joining them, through a series of focus groups and workshops.  These resulted in tangible outcomes which could be used to improve courses within the programme. Recognising the significance these findings would have, the head of programmes personally attended our sessions to directly absorb the feedback shared.

Furthermore, the committee has been actively supporting the head of programmes in co-designing content for future courses. As we approach the final stages of the design process, a comprehensive meeting with the entire delivery team is scheduled, where the changes made to the programme will be unveiled and discussed.

Conclusion

The collaboration between the Prince’s Trust and our team in the Prince’s Trust Young Champions initiative has showcased the tremendous value of amplifying youth voice through youth participation principles. Through their involvement, the Young Champions have positively influenced the programme’s marketing efforts, engaged with stakeholders, shared inspiring stories, and assumed leadership roles, securing national recognition.

Their achievements not only highlight their personal growth but also serve as a testament to the Prince’s Trust’s commitment to empowering young people. By fostering an environment where youth participation principles  thrives, the Prince’s Trust creates opportunities for young individuals to shine and make a lasting impact.

Testimonial

“We wanted to work with Participation People to utilise their skills and experience working with different youth groups and committees across numerous organisations. We wanted to discover alternative approaches and learn ways to get the most out of our young people that would not only benefit the Trust, but also provide both the personal and professional development for the young people involved. 

Asking the committee and champions to commit to working with us for a year is a big ask, so we wanted to ensure that they had the opportunity to learn and grow. We wanted a team who could support us across this as well as provide pastoral support and we felt that Participation People could deliver across all aspects.”

  • Becky Price, Senior Head of Service Delivery – Health & Social Care, The Prince’s Trust