Belconnen Community Service Youth Engagement has a history of effectively involving young people in their service design. 2018 has seen this become more integrated and involved, with leadership and input from young people actively shaping the service.
BCS Youth Engagement runs quarterly consultations at its youth centre, which are integral to the planning of events, supports, activities and the general culture of the youth centre. When young people suggest activities, workers assist them in planning and facilitating the activity. Revitalising the planning and participation process in this way has helped young people build skills and confidence, and created a strengthened sense of community and peer support in the centre.
To create further ownership and investment in their local youth service, young people are also actively encouraged to submit potential interview questions when new workers are hired. Consultations with students are held in schools prior to commencing service delivery in the forms of surveys, friendly chats and focus groups, allowing for informed decisions about programs that align with their needs and interests.
When receiving individual support, participants are given the opportunity and encouragement to reflect on what it is they would like to achieve, even if it is in contrast to what’s been included in their referral. Ensuring that young people have full participatory control over their support is paramount to the continually positive outcomes achieved.
By placing youth participation at the forefront of their work, BCS Youth Engagement have achieved phenomenal outcomes and created a lasting sense of inclusion, respect and community among the young people involved.