What’s Your Story?
Plenty of publications and events deal with the problems faced by children and young people excluded from society. But few involve those who would contribute the most: the young people themselves, choosing instead to consult exclusively with policy makers and service providers.
Failing to include young people only leads to further exclusion and desperation, igniting rather than easing anti-social behaviour, violence and criminality. Only by involving these young people in the decision making process, can we give them what they need to make it back into mainstream society.
User Voice’s Excluded Youth Project was launched in summer 2010. Our aim was to undertake a large-scale user led consultation with excluded young people about the causes of crime, their experiences of services and what they think makes a difference.
We have undertaken 22 discussion groups across the country (London and the South East, South West, North East, North West and the Midlands) with 325 of the most marginalised young people in England.
Thirty young people and 25 policy makers and senior representatives from the criminal justice services then met and discussed responses to youth crime and put forward recommendations that User Voice will take forward.
Why User Voice?
We have demonstrated we can engage and consult with some of the most excluded groups in society.
We can do this because we have come from the same experiences: from care, poverty, criminality, abuse, addiction.
This is the unique and most important element of the process.
We are also positive role models for the young people, providing inspiration in their own lives. Just taking part is itself an intervention.