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St Christopher’s launches new participation policy

St Christopher’s is proud to publish its new participation policy, which was drafted in partnership with the young people living in our services.

Lots of young people were involved in creating the new policy. Some inputted by giving feedback in the annual children and young people’s survey, where they explained why they think it is important to be involved in decisions and how they would like to be involved.

There was some really specific work done by a few young people who learnt about rights, equality and diversity. They used what they discovered about the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as a starting point for thinking about the importance of participation.

Others took part in more specific sessions where they developed an understanding of participation by planning a series of activities that they would like to run over the summer months. The activities were all designed to help them develop resilience through trying new things, creating scrapbooks to capture positive memories, and sessions about self-esteem and identity. These young people then reflected about what made the process feel positive and worthwhile, which is when they came up with the five principles of participation as featured in the new policy.

Young people were keen to include the five principles in the policy as they said very clearly that this is the thing that will make a difference. One young person said: “Lots of people say they listen but it is important that you listen in all kinds of ways, not just when you ask the questions. It is important that you show us what you have done with what you have heard.” This helps young people feel valued and build trusting relationships, and will encourage them to get involved in the future.

Once everyone’s views had been pulled together the document was shown back to a group of young people who have recently moved on from St Christopher’s. They all agreed that it was clear and one young person said: “If everyone manages to do that then that is really good. I would like to live somewhere like that.”

Another person said: “It doesn’t always happen like that, sometimes stuff just doesn’t go like it is meant to but it is good you have the paper policy so at least you know what you should do and try to do it.”

Participation is one of the core elements to St Christopher’s approach. We actively involve young people in experiences, opportunities and decisions about how to make their lives better. We see young people not as adults in waiting, but as experts on their own lives who we can learn from.

Alex, who works in our Participation team, said: “I am really excited to publish this new policy as I think participation is more than a one-off activity. It is a way of being and young people really benefit from it. It can help empower them and provide opportunities for us to see their diamond, work alongside them and really understand the world from their point of view.”

Read participation policy now