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Involving young people in staff meetings

At St Christopher’s we aim to build all parts our organisation around young people’s needs and wishes. We actively seek out their opinions on all areas of their lives, using what they tell us to improve their homes and services so that they have a better experience of our care and support. Our specialist participation team assist all levels of our organisation to achieve this.

The staff in one of our children’s homes have a team meeting every Wednesday afternoon. While there are confidential topics discussed by the team, young people have come to play a valued part in the meeting.

At first, young people would knock at the door to ask for things from the team. They would linger and naturally start conversations about things they were bothering them:

  • “It really annoys me when one of you comes and knocks on my door after the night shift has started, why can’t you respect my privacy?”
  • “Why can’t I go on an unsupervised spend to buy a present for my mum’s birthday?”
  • “Can we have a pond and a frog in the garden?”
  • “You guys are taking ages…”

The team recognised the value that young people offered through these casual comments and thought about how they could incorporate their views into team meetings in a meaningful way. Gradually young people started to join in for discussions and activities, such as:

  • A young person giving a talk about local gangs, what draws people to them and what they think would help to counteract the pull
  • Thinking about things that makes us feel at home, calm us down or annoy us, which allowed everyone to understand how other people perceived ‘home’
  • A young person discussing what is important for them to feel cared for and what might be more difficult to achieve

Regularly involving young people in team meetings has improved communication in the home. It has shown the young people how their expertise and views can lead to positive changes, and how they can make valuable contributions to their community.

Learn more about St Christopher’s approach to working with young people for more examples of our practice.