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Our approach to working with young people

Creators not consumers: Our commitment to children and young people focussed co-production.

Introduction

We strongly believe that the lived experience and voice of children and young people (CYP) should be the central guide to our work with CYP. We are aware that at times such efforts can be tokenistic which is why we favour a co-production model where CYP are actively encouraged and supported to “create” rather than just “consume” ideas for projects and ways of engaging with and supporting CYP.

It is our belief that if CYP are encouraged to identify the issues of concern to them and supported to decide how best they should be tackled, then the projects we develop are far more likely to succeed. As with all effective project work central to our co-production approach is an ongoing commitment to reflection and learning that enables us to respond and adapt as required to learning arising from implementation.

We are firmly committed to a children’s rights approach and believe the children act and UNCRC provide positive frameworks on which we can build our co-production approach. Furthermore, we support the no one left behind ethos of the sustainable development goals and strongly believe in an asset-based approach to community development that recognises and draws on the strengths of the community. We see potential and solutions rather than blocks and problems.

How does a co-production approach impact on our work?

We will seek to work in partnership with donors and organisations who share this commitment.

We will seek to promote co-production approaches across our partnerships and to persuade organisations to listen to and act on the voiced concerns of CYP.

We will continually ask these questions of any work we are involved in:

  • How have CYP been involved in developing this work?
  • How are CYP involved in delivering the work?
  • How are CYP involved in monitoring and reviewing the work?
  • Which CYP are involved?
  • What barriers might exist to stop some CYP participating
  • How can we remove these barriers?

We will seek to be creative and adaptive recognising there are no one fit all solutions and CYP are a diverse group.

We will develop in partnership with CYP a range of models, methods and tools that enable them to ensure their lived experience and voices shape the development, delivery and evaluation of our work.

When we appoint staff to our CYP team we will seek to involve CYP in their recruitment.

We will make commitment to co-production an integral part of our CYP team JD’s and ensure training and support is available for staff to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in co-production work.

We will always seek to ensure CYP can work alongside us in promoting the learning arising from our work.

We know there is a lot of experience in other organisations and will seek to learn from the good practice of others.

How will our co-production approach impact on the way we work with business?

We know that many businesses are very committed to supporting CYP and are keen to engage with them. So, we are confident that businesses will be willing to listen and learn from young people on a whole range of issues that might include:

  • What are the issues and concerns you currently face?
  • How best do we share information with you?
  • How can we encourage more young women to consider a career in our industry?
  • How can we best support CYP to develop their communities?
  • How can we build better links with and understanding of the needs of CYP?

As with all our work we will actively seek to create opportunities for employee volunteers to spend face to face time with CYP as we believe this is the best way for people to develop mutual trust and understanding. This face to face contact might vary from school-based sharing and learning sessions to work placements from group based joint activities to individual coaching, befriending and mentoring.

An ongoing journey.

We know that our approach to co-production is an ongoing process and one where we will always be reflecting, learning and adapting. We do not see ourselves arriving at an end point rather we see ourselves genuinely being involved in an ongoing dialogue with CYP and our other stakeholders to ensure as best we can that CYP’s voices and lived experiences shape and lead our work.