“Participation” and “Have your say” are often phrases that are used across youth services, but young people often wonder ‘what is the point?’ and what does ‘participation’ even mean?

Participation means meaningfully ensuring services are relevant for young people today, by including them in service design and delivery. To an organisation, it could be simply consulting 

with young people about a small decision, completing surveys and even right up to volunteers, youth committee groups and young trustees, resulting in quality youth services that have young people at the heart.

However, some could argue that the young people who engage in participation reap most of the benefits, which to name a few can include:

  • Increased confidence and self esteem
  • Sense of connectedness, and feeling of being valued, which can contribute to positive mental health
  • Gaining skills for CV (including references for future employment)
  • Meeting new people and making friends – reducing loneliness and isolation
  • Access to training and support
  • Learning about how youth services work and progressing into a career in youth work


The South Gloucestershire Youth Partnership (SGYP), includes youth organisations across South Glos: Creative Youth Network, Southern Brooks, Diversity Trust, Krunch South West and Wickwar Youth Centre who have come together through a passion and determination for delivering quality youth services for young people in South Gloucestershire.

Even though I like to think of myself as still being young and across the partnership we have over 30 years’ experience of youth work, we need young people to help us ensure we are providing a quality youth service that is relevant for young people today. To make sure we do this in a meaningful way, we have created a new Youth Ambassador volunteer role, who I cannot wait to start working with.

Interested in getting involved? I’d love to hear from you – 07747271919 / [email protected]Facebook – Hannah Cyn

Do you work in a youth organisation? How do you make sure that youth participation is meaningful?