None of our youth participation programmes would happen without the incredible people working behind the scenes. To celebrate #PowerofYouth Day, George, Azsia and Stasia shared their views on why youth participation – and Participation People – are vital to building better organisations, services and communities.

   

Why is youth participation important?

George – Youth participation is important to ensure that every voice is heard in decision making processes. We constantly hear that young people are the future of the country, but to shape this country in practice, that means we need to be involving and empowering them now!

 

Azsia – Youth Participation is so important as it creates opportunities for young people’s ideas and experiences to help improve services. It also provides decision makers and organisations with diverse viewpoints to inform their decisions. 


Stasia – I think that Youth Voice Work is so important because it reduces the taboo that young people’s voices aren’t as important as adults! Young people need to be brought up knowing that they can and should be listened to. 

What benefits/solutions does improving youth participation bring to organisations?

George – The groups that I have had the absolute honour of working with are some of the most passionate and hard working individuals I have ever met. Empowering these groups to own their voice has allowed them to influence decision makers in the council, presenting at conferences and corporate parenting boards, and even training staff members on a project they designed from start to finish.

 

Azsia – It provides an opportunity for young people’s social and political development. Along with receiving the benefits of better services, young people also develop skills such as communication and are able to better understand the political aspects of changes which could help in future decision-making processes. After all, we are the future! The services also benefit as they receive constructive feedback directly from young people rather than assuming young people’s perspective. 

 

Stasia – I have seen so many positive changes in my community from working in youth participation – in both young people and adults. For young people, you see a boost of confidence and their personalities emerge whilst they develop their own opinions and believe how important it is to make their voices heard. Meanwhile, with adults, you see services become more youth-friendly, catering more to young people and listening to how they can adapt their services to benefit the people who use it!

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

George – My biggest learning when working and engaging with young people, is realising how to give them the space and the time they need to formulate campaigns. I don’t think this is something that I could have learnt without directly working with young people, as so much of it is a natural learning curve learning together.

 

Azsia – My biggest learning once engaging with decision makers is that young people need to stand by what they say and “arguing” professionally makes you come across as a strong young person who is conveying their needs for changes in their community. I would not have known this without youth participation as these skills come with experience. And this experience can only be gained by participation – which Participation People has provided us the opportunity to do. 

Why Participation People?

George – I wanted to work with Participation People for the varied and exciting projects that we run! Since joining, my facilitation skills have improved dramatically through weekly sessions, and the learning I’ve gained about young people will be knowledge that I take with me throughout the rest of my life.

 

Azsia – Participation People gives young people the experience to play key roles while making crucial decisions about youth. It is different because Participation People’s approach towards problems is quite pragmatic, which means that they find practical solutions that work. 

Stasia – All the staff are so friendly and supportive. They value you as people and help you to grow and develop your confidence. I have seen this in so many young people besides myself.

What’s next?

George  –We have loads of exciting projects coming up! We’re very excited to be running our first joint activity day with the Royal Borough of Greenwich very soon, and we have plenty of projects kept under wraps for now…Keep an eye on our socials to see what we’re getting up to!

 

Azsia –  My next steps are to polish these skills gained and put them to action by getting involved in decision making more than I ever have. 

 

Stasia – I am now planning on going to university in September to study to be an Educational Psychologist and to carry on helping young people!

 

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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