Young person with Barnardo's worker with paperwork at a kitchen table

Voice and influence of young people

We involve children and young people in decisions that affect their lives

Nobody knows better than children and young people what their lives are really like. We're here to listen to them and help them get the support they need. We're serious about that.

Empowering young people

Children and young people don’t always feel comfortable speaking out, especially if they’ve had difficult experiences in the past.

We're committed to helping them to make sure their voice is heard in a way that feels safe to them, and in a way that helps them feel stronger and more able to recover when they face challenges in their lives.

We're passionate about supporting young people to have a say in Barnardo's, in their communities, and beyond.

    Developing and running better services

    We listen to children and young people to find ways of improving the services we offer them. We use their views to shape our work and tell others, like the government, what's important, too.

    The more we involve children and young people in developing and running our services, the better those services will meet their needs. 

    What young people are telling us

    • waiting time targets for mental health services are a major concern 
    • good relationships and sex education in schools – where no question or topic is off limits – would help them to learn about relationships in a structured way
    • they want to talk about LGBTQ+ relationships and gender identities in relationships, sex and health education 

    Next steps

      We're on a journey with these young people to:

      • help them be listened to
      • grow their confidence
      • give them more opportunities to have a say

      We’re developing a range of interactive digital services for young people, so they can talk to us directly from their phones, tablets or laptops. So they can tell us what's important to them.​​​​​​

      Needs and support during and after Coronavirus

      Survey to children and young people who use Barnardo’s services

      During May 2020, 113 young people who use Barnardo’s services (age 13-25) told their support workers about how Coronavirus and the lockdown was affecting them personally, and what they wanted to change. The summary provides an overview of their views.

      Update from Barnardo’s decision makers

      Reading and responding to the views and experiences that have been captured through the survey has been a real privilege for the  us as senior leaders. We are feeling more informed and inspired by the insight that you have shared, and we are committed to creating change for the better based on what you have told us. It will take time to put all of our plans into action, but we wanted to place an update here to let you know what we are doing right now. Using the information that you gave us in the survey we are:

      • Reviewing the ways in which our services work and how they support young people.
        For example, some people told us about the way in which flexibility and availability of support was crucial at a time like this.
      • Giving a lot of thought to the fact that many of you said that the information you are getting about the world around you needs to improve in some way.
        We are thinking about how information should be tailored to suit the needs and lifestyles of children and young people.
      • Working with the English government to support young people who need more support right now.
        We are pleased to tell you that after talking to the Government they have agreed to fund a new service which we are running in partnership with other organisations to reach more Children and young people at this time and give them support. For more information Explore our See, Hear, Respond Hub
      • Hosting a number of online discussions where some of you will have the opportunity to share your insights and ideas with MPs.
        Each session will be shaped by what we heard in the survey. Barnardo’s youth participants will be our most prominent spokespeople as we take these views forward and ask MPs how they will respond.
      • Creating a range of reports so that everyone can hear what you have said.
        For example, the reports will range from Vlogs to formal documentation.
      • Making sure that our most high profile staff are working with the benefit of your experiences and expertise.
        For example our CEO, Javed Khan, has really welcomed the information that we have gathered in the survey, which will inform  his conversations with government officials, press and other media (which sometimes includes TV), and other leading children’s charities who are working hard to support childhoods in the UK right now.

      As these activities progress we will update this space. For now we would like to reassure you that this is a commitment to an ongoing discussion and not just a reaction to a moment in time.

      Lynn Perry and Michelle Lee Izu, Directors for Children’s Services, Barnardo’s UK

      If you have any further thoughts or views that you would like to share at this time, please discuss these with your project worker who can pass them on to the Voice & Influence team and someone will then follow this up with you.

      Finding Your Voice toolkit

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      Finding Your Voice is a toolkit for supporting and enhancing children’s and young people’s voice in schools and their communities. The toolkit is intended to put children and young people at the centre of decision making. It enables adults to support them to conduct a research and action project in order to make changes in their community on things which matter to them.​​​​​​

      The toolkit has been developed for children by children as part of the Children First approach. Children First is a Welsh Government approach that aims to encourage the local community and organisations to work together to address the specific needs of children and young people from cradle to career.

      Finding Your Voice is designed to be as straightforward and easy to use as possible. It contains session plans, guidance and resources to enable organisations to facilitate an action research project with children and young people.

      Finding your voice toolkit - English

      Finding your voice toolkit - Welsh

      Millbrook puzzle - English

      Millbrook puzzle - Welsh