Passionate4Participation - our offer to you
Are you passionate about participation?
Whether you are a young person or you are working with young people, there are many ways that you can engage throughout Somerset and beyond. Have a browse through the toolkit on the left and take your pick!
There is a good tradition in Somerset for listening to the voices of children, young people and their families to help shape better outcomes for them.
We are a skilled and knowledgeable team who can help you support young people to participate in their services, schools and communities.
As we develop this information we’ll be telling you more about how you can get involved.
In the meantime, we have developed a Participation strategy for young people and staff from a range of organisations within Somerset.
Young People Representatives
Young people represent their peers through forums, within the service they receive, sharing the views and opinions of Somerset’s young people and feeding back to decision makers.
The group is for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities aged 13-25 who want to have their voice heard and help to make changes in Somerset.
We want to hear your views on things that matter to you. We meet on the first Saturday of every month in Yeovil.
SiCC and SLCC
SiCC stands for Somerset in Care Council – we are a group of young people who are living in care.
We meet every second Sunday of the month at the Rollercoaster in Bridgwater to talk about the things that affect young people in care. We use our views and ideas to tell the managers who make decisions what we think works well in the care system and what could be better. We also help to interview people who are applying for jobs in children’s social care
SLCC stand for Somerset Leaving Care Council. We are a group of young people who are 16+. We meet once a month with SiCC. We discuss things which we believe are important to young people who are in care, about to leave care and those who have already left.
Check out their website to find out more.
Somerset UKYPAG (UK Youth Parliament Advisory Group)
For young peoples aged between 11 and 18 (25 with SEND) who want to make a difference in young people’s lives and in their communities, and have their voices heard.
To find out more go to the “Somerset Youth Parliament” section of this page.
Route 1 Advocacy and Independent Visitors
All children and young people (age 4 to 25) who receive a service from Children Social Care are entitled to access advocacy before any meeting to discuss what you would like to say.
An advocate is your voice and advocates are independent, there to listen and there to support you. We will present your views back to the meeting or relay to the appropriate professionals or support you if you wish to attend.
All children and young people who are looked after by the local authority, and it’s in their best interest, and they have a right, to be offered an Independent Visitor. The role of the Independent Visitor is to befriend you and offer guidance and support. The Independent Visitor becomes a reliable, consistent adult in your life. The relationship is one-to-one and you would spend time together in the community regularly.
Consultation and engagement events
There are many opportunities throughout the year for young people to consult and review organisations policies and the ways in which they work. Keep checking this page for live consultations that are taking place throughout Somerset.
You might also want to use some of the tools and example resources below to help you to plan consultation activities within your own organisation.
Volunteering, fundraising and funding
Young people can volunteer at Somerset County Council and our partner organisations or get involved in fundraising events.
Did you know that volunteering can
- Open up career opportunities as you gain new skills
- Provide you with valuable experience which enhances your CV
- Help you to meet with other people from your local community
- Bring a great sense of personal achievement
Opportunities to volunteer with Somerset County Council
Somerset County Council are always searching for volunteers of all ages for a variety of opportunities in Somerset. Whether you want to support other young people to take part in activities, help out at your local library or make sure people can continue to enjoy the Somerset countryside – there are lots of ways you can get involved – to find out more, visit our volunteering page.
The following charities have details of a large variety of volunteering opportunities in Somerset and can help you identify something that matches your interests and availability.
Route 1 Advocacy and Independent Visitors – Route1IndependentVisitors@somerset.gov.uk – 01749 822801
If you are a young person and would like to access funding for a range if different things, check out these options:
Eagle House Trust funding programmes
Grants of up to £500 to improve the wellbeing and independence of young people by supporting their education, talent, professional development, employment or enterprise are available. There are four competitive rounds per year.
The bursary scheme offers awards of £1,500 per year to help young people go to university. £500 payments are made at the beginning of each term, subject to ongoing attendance. Awards are usually for three years, but can be offered for longer courses in exceptional circumstances. Bursaries are not restricted to specific universities or courses and do not need to be repaid. There is one competitive round per year.
Grants of up to £300 are available for laptops, with one competitive round of applications per year (restrictions apply).
To be eligible, applicants must be aged 18-24 years old at the time of application and have had substantial involvement with children’s services in either Somerset, Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire. Find out more – including how to apply.
Grants of up to £1,000 are available to enable people with learning or physical disabilities to participate in an activity which, without the grant, would not have been available to them. Eligible activities include music therapy, one-off concerts and outdoor activities that will build self-confidence, encourage participation and inspire hope for the future. The fund is open to applicants of any age with one competitive round per year.
To be eligible, applicants must be resident in Somerset or Devon and have a learning or physical disability. For more information please contact email@example.com or call 01749 344949.
Huish’s Exhibitions are bursaries for young people who are intending to enter their first year of university in the forthcoming academic year. Exhibitions are offered to students who attend Richard Huish College, King’s College, Queen’s College, Taunton School, and Wellington School. Exhibitions of around £300 a year for undergraduate studies are awarded in one competitive round each year. Awards are based on financial need and academic performance.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01749 344949.
North Petherton Educational Trust
The Trust provides small financial grants for educational purposes for young people aged between 16 and 25 who are resident in the parish of North Petherton and are in full-time education or training. Grants will not be given for daily travel, bus passes, daily living costs or accommodation.
Applications are made directly to the North Petherton Educational Trust, and the grant awards are administered by Somerset Community Foundation. For more information email email@example.com or phone 01749 344949.
West Somerset Youth Trust
The Trust offers grants to encourage young people aged 14 to 25 to make trips outside of West Somerset to enrich their education. Grants are awarded for up to 25% of the total cost of the trip, with a maximum grant size of £300. A larger percentage of the costs will be considered if the young person, or their parents and carers, are in receipt of means-tested benefits.
To be eligible, applicants must be residents of the former district of West Somerset for at least 2 years, and be aged between 14 and 25 at the time they apply.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01749 344949.
Somerset Youth Parliament
This is a group for young people aged between 11 and 18 (25 with SEND). They represent the universal voice of young people across Somerset. This group represents young people from all backgrounds, beliefs, experiences and abilities.
The group includes three elected Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs), three Deputies and an open Advisory Group, which anyone can join within the age range.
The MYPs each run a local campaign which can be seen in the manifesto.
Somerset County Council is affiliated to the British Youth Council. This enables us to have elections every two years in Somerset.
To find out more, please get in touch with Kate Darlington
Phone 07964 699595
Somerset Youth Parliament works with decision makers, key community representatives and politicians to influence change, identify opportunities and better outcomes for children and young people. The group want to make a positive difference for local young people and promote their achievements – as well as raising awareness of the issues that affect and worry them.
They do this by
- Volunteering – Youth Parliament offers educational and development opportunities to members, but is also a voluntary opportunity and a commitment
- Working with and for young people – encouraging them to speak up and listening to what they say
- Promoting and amplifying their voices – by consulting and representing them locally, regionally and nationally. This includes things like shadowing and work experiences, using social media platforms and making short films, and engaging with the media
- Researching, campaigning, lobbying and working in consultation and co-production – to influence decision makers on services which concern them
- Creating, attending, chairing, facilitating – meetings, events, training or interviewing
- Making public speeches and presentations
Somerset Youth Parliament upholds the core values of democracy, fairness, respect and equality within its membership Code of Conduct and Terms of reference.
Somerset Youth Forum
Many of our decision-making Boards include young people making decisions with senior leaders, including our Youth Forum – which meets three times a year.
Wednesday 27 May 2020 10.30am to 3.30pm
Wednesday 19 August 2020 10.30am to 3.30pm
Wednesday 28 October 2020 10.30am to 3.30pm
The meetings will be held at The Angel Community Room in Langport, TA10 9QR and drinks and a light lunch will be provided. If you think you can attend all three meetings, please complete the Expression of Interest form
Young people from across Somerset are encouraged to scrutinise Somerset’s services through a Youth-led Forum.
This helps Somerset deliver safe services for young people and meet the outcomes for the current plan for children, young people and families (CYPP).
The CYPP was co-produced by young people, decision makers and our community partners throughout 2018 through a variety of consultation events and planning activities.
We support young people to review local services and provide feedback for organisations. This helps to make sure that local services are young person friendly and are working well.
There are lots of different ways you can be involved such as:
Somerset-Wide Integrated Sexual Health (SWISH)
If you have ever used this service, the website and app both have ‘Rate This Clinic’ when you select the clinic that you visited. More details
Short Breaks feedback
If you are a young person with special educational needs and or disabilities and use the Somerset County Council Short Breaks service, we would love to get your feedback on the range of activities available. Please send any comments, photos or questions to the team mail box email@example.com
Check out their page to find out more.
Bespoke packages and training
The team can offer bespoke training packages including
- Participation and representation
- Person-centred planning
- Recruitment and funding panels
- Hearing the voice of the young person in funding bids
For more information please contact Fiona Phur on 07811 307699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Open University offer a free online course in Children and Young People’s Participation.
Youth Voice National
We support our young people to engage in opportunities across the UK to consult, advise and influence a wide variety of organisations, local authorities and government departments.
The British Youth Council (BYC) is a UK charity that works all over the UK and internationally, empowering young people aged 25 and under to promote their interests.
It encourages and supports young people to get involved in their communities and take part in democracy locally, nationally and internationally. This allows them to make a significant difference as volunteers, campaigners, decision-makers and leaders.
It is run by young people, for young people, to represent their views to government and decision-makers, and to promote youth participation.
It aims to help create a world where young people are respected and can influence and inform decisions that affect their lives, and raise issues they feel strongly about. This includes running their flagship programmes like the UK Youth Parliament, the BYC Youth Select Committee account and UK Young Ambassadors.
Social media platforms
We use social media platforms and surveys to seek the views of young people.
Check out the SEND Facebook page for information, updates and local events.
UKYPAG (UK Youth Parliament Advisory Group) updates
To find out more about UKYPAG and learn more about current topics of interest contact Kate through Facebook.
Somerset’s In Care and Leaving Care Councils (SICC and SLCC)
Involving young people in recruitment
Young people across a range of services are trained to be involved in interviewing staff and allocating funding. If you would like to get young people involved in these areas within your service, check out some of the resources below.
It is important that children and young people are empowered and supported to make decisions about their own lives to prepare them for their futures. These decisions should start from the earliest opportunity to give children and young people the skills they need in adulthood.
Below are some useful tools to support with individual decision-making
Individual engagement and participation
Do you know about the Mental Capacity Act (MCA)?
The Mental Capacity Act is designed to protect and empower people who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment. It applies to people aged 16 and over. It covers decisions about day-to-day things like what to wear or what to buy for the weekly shop, or serious life-changing decisions like whether to move into a care home or have major surgery.
Examples of people who may lack capacity include those with:
- a severe learning disability
- a brain injury
- a mental health illness
- a stroke
- unconsciousness caused by an anaesthetic or sudden accident
But just because a person has one of these health conditions doesn’t necessarily mean they lack the capacity to make a specific decision.
Someone can lack capacity to make some decisions (for example, to decide on complex financial issues) but still have the capacity to make other decisions (for example, to decide what items to buy at the local shop).
The Mental Capacity Act says:
- assume a person has the capacity to make a decision themselves, unless it’s proved otherwise
- wherever possible, help people to make their own decisions
- don’t treat a person as lacking the capacity to make a decision just because they make an unwise decision
- if you make a decision for someone who doesn’t have capacity, it must be in their best interests
- treatment and care provided to someone who lacks capacity should be the least restrictive of their basic rights and freedoms
Find out more on the NHS website
A multi-agency group of Engagement and Participation Workers who work collaboratively to develop and deliver opportunities for young people.
This includes Participation workers from the following organisations:
- Somerset County Council
- Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)- Somerset Partnership
- Young Somerset
- Healthwatch Somerset
- Somerset Parent Carer Forum
- Route 1 Advocacy and Independent Visitors
To find out more about the network or how you can be involved contact Fiona Phur – FZPhur@somerset.gov.uk or phone 07811 307699.