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Participation in action!

At St Christopher’s participation isn’t just something we talk about and tag on to our work – it feeds into everything we do and lies at the heart of our approach.

The children and young people we work with are invested in how we portray them through pictures and words, whether this is on a website, in a brochure or in a presentation at a conference. We see them as human beings in their own right, not adults in waiting, and their ideas and suggestions bring a fresh perspective to St Christopher’s.

That’s why we worked with them to co-produce an approvals logo: “We say it’s okay”.

Young people’s approval

We wanted to find a quick and easy way that would highlight our extensive participation work to the outside world. One idea we had was creating a seal of approval to go onto anything produced or approved by young people.

They came up with the idea of a handwritten logo, which was drawn up by a designer:

The logo is now used across St Christopher’s on publications, job advertisements and policies as a universal, user-friendly marker of our commitment to participation.

Our entire website has been approved by young people, but there are certain parts where they have been really involved. Wherever you spot this logo on our website, you will know that young people helped to produce or approved the content in that section.

Why participation matters

Imagine if you did not have control over the decisions your life. You were never asked about where you wanted to live, who you wanted to live with or the activities you wanted to do – but lots of other people had a say.

That’s what life can be like for children and young people in care. But we want to change that.

'They get me and respect me. They don’t think that I am stupid or that there’s no point in asking me. They come and find me, they ask me, they make sure they find out what I want. They don’t guess or assume or think I want the same as everyone else.'
Nathaniel, young person at St Christopher's

We provide young people with opportunities to have their say on the issues that affect their lives. This can include giving us feedback on designing a new service, speaking to visitors from the Department for Education, or having a say over the decoration in their home. Alongside our everyday work, we run larger participation projects throughout the year for all children and young people in the organisation.

This shows young people that we value their opinion, which builds their self-esteem and helps them see how they can meaningfully contribute to their community.

Find out more about participation

 

"It's motivating to hear young people's feedback in my annual appraisal"