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Engagement and Participation

What do we mean by Engagement and Participation work with young people?

 London Borough of Croydon recognise the value of involving young people in decisions that affect them. Young people are supported to have an active role in service design, delivery and evaluation and will have the opportunity to take part in debates and forums about the community and young people. They also plan and deliver their own projects raising awareness on issues that concern young people.



How do we deliver Engagement and Participation work?

We focus on issues that affect young people and consult with them and those around them to find practical solutions to address them. Young people have told us that they needed a safe space and we now have legacy youth zone. Our annual Youth Congress leaves young people and adults inspired to take action from what Children and Young People have said.

Our staff are equipped with the energy and experience to understand youth voice, engagement and participation successfully. Our programmes for young people are fun, interactive, dynamic and bespoke. They also have a learning aspect to them which develop lifelong skills.

Our target groups such as EMPIRE, Leaving Care Forum and YOS Forum give children and young people the chance to shape and influence the care that they receive. It gives young people a chance to have a say about the things that really matter in their lives, helping to shape the overall strategy for the care/service we provide them.

Our Youth Forums are located across the borough and they are open to all young people who live, work or study in Croydon. They are fun, interactive and accessible, this helps recruit and retain children and young people.

Our Young Commissioners are a group of young people from the various forums that are trained up to do some of the following:

  • Support commissioning and procurement activities
  • Participate in interview panels
  • Undertake research
  • Make recommendations about services


The Young Mayor is the figurehead for all participation projects delivered by the Youth Service. This involves meeting with Youth Forums, Young Commissioners, EMPIRE, Leaving Care Forum and YOS Forum and supporting them in their work.

This enables the Young Mayor to take the views of young people and take them straight to decision-makers and ensure they are taken into consideration.

The Young Mayor also has a Young Mayor’s Fund which gives young people and opportunity to apply for up to £2,000



Who will deliver these sessions? 

  • Two staff minimum on all sessions.

When & Where?  

  • Youth Cabinet – On a Monday (Monthly) in BWH
  • Leaving Care Forum – On a Monday (Monthly) Friends Meeting House
  • East Youth Forum – On a Monday (Fortnightly) in Goldcrest Youth Club, New Addington
  • EMPIRE (Children in Care Council) – On a Tuesday (Fortnightly) in St Marys Conference Centre
  • North Youth Forum – On a Wednesday (Fortnightly) in Samuel Coleridge Taylor Centre, South Norwood
  • South Youth Forum – On a Thursday (Fortnightly) in The Emmanuel Centre, South Croydon
  • Young Commissioners – On a project basis in BWH/Town Hall
  • YOS Forum – On a Monday (Monthly) in Friend’s Meeting House
  • Training Day – On a Wednesday (Fortnightly)



Ways of Working Through Theory

Sociologist Roger Hart wrote a book called Children’s Participation:

The Theory and Practice of Involving Young Citizens In Community Development and Environmental Care for UNICEF in 1997. The “Ladder of Children’s Participation” also called the “Ladder of Youth Participation,” is one of many significant tools from the book.

8) Young people-initiated, shared decisions with adults. This happens when projects of programmes are initiated by young people and decision making is shared between young people and adults. These projects empower young people while at the same time enabling them to access and learn from the life experience and expertise of adults.

7) Young people-initiated and directed. This step is when young people initiate and direct a project or program. Adults are involved only in a supportive role.

6) Adult-initiated, share decisions with young people. Occurs when projects or programmes are initiated by adults but the decision making is shared with young people.

5) Consulted and informed. Happens when young people give advice on projects or programmes designed and run by adults. The young people are informed about how their input will be used and the outcomes of the decisions made by adults.

4) Assigned but informed. This is where young people are assigned a specific role and informed about how and why they are being involved

3) Tokenism Young People appear to be given a voice, but in fact have little or no choice about what they do or how they participate

2) Decoration Young People are used to strengthen a cause, although adults do not pretend that the cause is young person led

1) Manipulation Adults use young people to strengthen a cause and pretend that the cause is young person led

*Note: Hart explains that the last three are non-participation



Tasking / targeting the work

In order for young people to access the various forums, programmes, training or activities that are specifically for children and young people who are looked after or care leavers (EMPIRE).

The following applies:

All young people who live in Croydon, aged 12-19 can be part of their Local Forum and be trained to be a Young Commissioner, while 14-17 year olds can stand as a candidate in the young mayor elections

EMPIRE (The Children in Care Council) is for children & young people aged 8 -16 years old and the Leaving Care Forum is for young people aged 16 – 25. These projects are targeted at children and young people who have experience of being cared for by Croydon.

YOS Forum is for children and young people aged 12-19 that have experience of the Youth Justice System.



Service Objectives

Children, young people and their families enjoy greater independence & financial stability

• Improved access to local universal and community services
• Improved social networks & sense of community


Children and young people enjoy improved educational achievement

• Improved access to local universal and community services
• Successful transition into school / training / employment
• Skills, interests and hobbies developed


Children and young people enjoy physical wellbeing

• Children, young people and their parents are healthy and well
• Children and young people active and enjoying recreational activities
• Healthy relationships and less risky behaviour


Services are more responsive and consistent

• Needs identified and early help in place for those in need
• Children & young people are safe and protected from harm
• Strength based services




Boris Rupnik – Youth work Coordinator
07732 072 165
Thomas Joyce – Youth Worker
07436 034 615
Jade Lloyd – Youth Worker
Ishmael Akorley – Youth Worker
07740 505 078