The ‘Participating in Participation’ Network: A place to share, learn and celebrate 

2018 has been Scotland’s Year of Young People (YoYP). It’s been a year where to promote and celebrate the amazing talent of young people living in Scotland. It’s also an opportunity for us to make change, challenge the status quo and help create an even better Scotland in 2018 and beyond.

The ‘Participation’ theme of Year of Young People is a perfect example of this. In Scotland, there are hundreds, probably thousands, of young people involved in participation work at any given time.  

These people are using their voice to change their world for the better. People who are contributing to the design of services that affect them, or others, and using their passions and insights to make a difference

Often however, this amazing activity goes on in a vacuum. People and organisations lack the resources or are simply too busy to share their amazing work, even with the best of intentions. Sometimes this means that their opportunities for change are limited and that all their hard work isn’t able to leave a lasting legacy. Participation, although usually done in a group environment, can still also feel a bit ‘lonely’ as groups don’t have the opportunity to learn from each other and share key messages.

As part of Year of Young People 2018, CELCIS, alongside key partners, young people and other communities with lived experience, have created a network where all of this great participation work can be amplified; where young people and workers involved in participation can be supported; and where people can learn from each other and good practice shared. 

The ‘Participating in Participation’ Network is that space. So far, we’ve had CELCIS and other Year of Young People partners, are holding a network where young people and workers involved in participation can get together to discuss their own practice and learn from others. It’s a partnership that’s grown to over 150 organisations and communities of people.

It acts as a community of practice for anyone involved in participation work, allowing them to reflect and learn from their own practice and the practice of others. In addition, the space will be used to collaborate on key themes such as Adverse Childhood Experiences, mental health etc. and help to develop a collective vision of how to tackle these issues.

What we’ve done so far, and what we’ll continue to do in 2019, is:

  1. Share good practice and learn from different participation approaches
  2. Challenge poor practice and tokenism
  3. Develop new skills in areas such as participation, coproduction, facilitation, presentation skills and conflict resolution
  4. Amplify and champion the participation work of each individual organisation and participation group
  5. Tackle ‘hot topics’ and intersecting themes as a group
  6. Develop new friends and opportunities for networking
  7. Inform a series of principles, values and guidelines for participation practice

The agenda is created and driven by a collective group of practitioners and young people.

The Network’s free to join – if you’d like to sign up or just find out more then get in touch with Paul Sullivan (p.sullivan@strath.ac.uk / 07970 506 929). 

Together we can help sustain a legacy of participation and coproduction that goes well beyond 2018.