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Involving Young Londoners: A review of participatory approaches in the youth sector

Author: Partnership for Young London

Partnership for Young London, funded by Trust for London, has been supporting youth sector organisations across London to conduct their own participatory approaches since 2019.

So far, no two projects have been the same. Some last two weeks, some six months, some involve young people at every step, some in certain stages. There
is no clear one size fits all model for participation with young people, however this report will attempt to shed a light on some of the ways it has been done.

Involving young people in the research into their lives, and the decisions that impact them is vital in the work that we do with them. Peer research, participatory approach, community action research, participatory action research, or youth-led, or community-led research. There are a variety of ways to describe young people’s participation in research and decision making, and even more variety in how it is being done. This review is a small look into how some organisations are navigating their own participatory approach with young people; from funding, to recruitment, to the impact they have seen.

  1. Projects varied in budget, and source of funding, but averaged around £40k for a year.
  2. Recruitment is often the most time consuming and challenging part of the participatory approach, to ensure relevant representation of lived experience.
  3. Vouchers are the most common way to pay young people due to a lack of clarity of the impact of payment on benefits.
  4. On average, training lasted less than 10 hours in total, and focused more on practical information (how to conduct interviews, fill out consent forms) than theory.
  5. Participatory research can bring up additional challenges when considering safeguarding for the young people involved.
  6. The quality of research, such as sample size or honesty of responses, was improved through young people conducting the research.
  1. Creation of a toolkit to support organisations to conduct their own peer research projects with young people.
  2. Understand the legal advice around renumerations and find a solution to how we remunerate young people and reduce financial barriers to participation without risking them being penalised.
  3. Design an evaluation tool for young people that is flexible, with outcomes that can be co-produced with them, and considers the different phases of the process and different decisions that they might make.
  4. Provide an online resource of video training and digital tools that organisations can use to supplement their training of young people as peer researchers.
  5. Conduct a peer research project into peer research projects, and provide some quantitative evidence for the benefits that young people experience.
  6. Build a directory of participatory projects with young people.
Involving Young Londoners report cover

10 June 2020

Involving Young Londoners: A review of participatory approaches in the youth sector