Kate leads the CYP Programme for the Midlands – working to help local systems make a real difference for children and young people. Kate kindly answered a few questions for us on why younth participation is so important, and we discussed how she’s looking forward to working with our Youth Inspectors to uncover how diabetes and epilepsy services are working across the region, from a young person’s perspective.

Why is youth participation important?

Youth participation is crucial to helping decision makers understand the needs and wants of children and young people. It brings a different, authentic perspective that is very difficult to ignore. Their insight enables decision makers to consider the inequalities and inequities that we create and perpetuate when we ignore the voices, experience and insight of children and young people.

What benefits/solutions has improving youth participation brought to your organisation?

Much improved insight to help make the right decisions for children and young people. But just as importantly (in my opinion!) an element of fun that is often forgotten. Transforming children and young people’s services so that they are fit to serve the needs of children, young people and families now and in the future is really important and sometimes it is hard to do. But the energy, enthusiasm and constructive challenge that young people bring is without comparison. It’s not easily measurable, but it is an essential element of transformation work and one of the main reasons I absolutely love my job!

What was your biggest learning on engaging with young people? Do you feel you would have known this without youth participation?

That adults over-complicate things. We have to un-learn as much as we need to learn. The power of the question ‘why does it have to be like that?’ cannot be underestimated when taken seriously. If it is not easy to explain something, then it’s probably not right! I wouldn’t have known this without seeing/hearing this from a young person’s perspective.

Why Participation People and why Young Inspectors for NHS Midlands?

Why not?! Seriously, I am very excited about working with the Participation People again and my team are looking forward to getting to know them. The Youth Inspectors will be a unique opportunity to learn about diabetes and epilepsy services across the region from a young person’s perspective and influence the workstream, right from the start.

What’s next?

The voice of children and young people being right at the heart of the Midlands Children and Young People’s programme as we develop and deliver real, positive change for children, young people and families right across the region!


Want to know more about how youth participation can transform your organisation? Get started by talking to one of our youth experts. 


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