My name is Harrison, I’m 16 and I have a passion for anything cinema – especially Tamil films – music, and sharing my #youthvoice, of course!

I first decided to sign up for Hounslow Youth Council (HYC) with Participation People because previously, it was difficult for me to find a platform to share my voice within my community. When wanting to share my opinions on matters that impact the future of my generation, decision-makers had previously commented on my age, belittling the validity of the insights I wanted to share. I decided to longer let a bunch of adults boss me around. It was time for me to stand my ground, find my #youthvoice and stand up for young people everywhere who have faced the same issues as me.

Gaining confidence

I have definitely developed my confidence since joining Hounslow Youth Council and working on other different projects with Participation People. I came to Participation People as an introvert and I am still one now! But the ability for me to share my voice has definitely improved, and it still continues to improve today.

The skills I’ve learned with Participation People have helped me with other projects outside of the organisation too, including the Jack Petchey Speak Out challenge at school, which involves delivering a speech to a panel of judges. Because of the skills I had picked up with Participation People, I managed to progress further in the challenge than I had expected!

Lights, camera, action!

The variety of projects I have worked on with Participation People has made my experience as a Young Consultant all the more exciting. As a member of HYC, I helped with filming a Black Lives Matter documentary. I did a variety of jobs from holding the boom mic to operating the camera and was even tasked with the challenge of directing at one point!

As part of the project, we broke into small groups and worked on different areas of the documentary, interviewing various young people and creating a film and a film trailer. First, we shared the trailer with decision-makers from Hounslow Council, and then we organised a film premier, producing the invitations ourselves.

The decision-makers within Hounslow Council learnt about the insights of the interviewees from their own racial experiences, offering a window into how the council can make social improvements for the community. It was an incredible opportunity to spark tangible social change within my community, and if this hasn’t struck a chord with policy-makers at Hounslow Council, I don’t know what will!

If I was a CEO…

If I was a CEO, I would involve young people in decision-making to get a better reputation for my company, so we could proudly say that we have played our part in creating a better future for young people. My organisation would promote our belief in #youthvoice and the fresh perspectives that young people can bring. Young people’s insight can help to improve products, services and workplace culture, as well as build a loyal customer base.

Sign up and get involved!

If I could give a young person one piece of advice about taking part in a project with Participation People, I’d say just go for it. Jump in head-first, because when you start to believe in the power of your voice, you won’t regret it. Trust me, I have learnt from experience!


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