Hammersmith & Fulham Youth Voice

H&F Youth Voice logo

What is Youth Voice?

In H&F it means: truly valuing the voices and lived experiences of our young residents to shape a happier, healthier and safer borough. We have a corporate priority of ‘doing things with residents not to them’. 

Our young people are influencers, co-producers, & agents of change for example, in policy, strategic boards, access to opportunities & support, funding & commissioning decisions.

Through youth voice opportunities we also aim to expand opportunities and possibilities in young people’s lives so they feel valued, connected to their community and acquire transferable skills.

What Youth Voice means to us (YouTube)

Instagram: @h_f_youth

The Youth Voice Strategy

The Youth Voice Strategy outlines our approach to strengthening the reach and impact of youth voice and embedding co-production with young people. It includes a clearly defined ‘purpose’ for youth voice and surrounding key principles, resources and case studies.

Youth Voice Strategy - Strengthening the reach and impact of Youth Voice in Hammersmith & Fulham (406KB pdf) 

  • Youth Voice Strategy - Strengthening the reach and impact of Youth Voice in Hammersmith & Fulham (text version)

    March 2022



    This strategy outlines our collaborative approach to strengthening the reach and co-production1 with young people in Hammersmith & Fulham.

    It includes a clearly defined ‘purpose’ for youth voice and surrounding key principles, resources and case studies running throughout the document. We would like colleagues to share these resources with their teams and to seek opportunities to use, recreate and embed them into the policy and practice.

    Case study 1

    H&F Peer researchers Illuminate Podcast

    The podcast Illuminate was created by Young H&F’s Peer Researchers age 15 – 19, to shine a light on the issues facing young people in Hammersmith & Fulham. This was done to ensure that young people felt visible and valued, at the centre of articulating their issues and were in the best place to determine and advocate for them. We worked in partnership with the peer researchers from the outset. Young People were involved in talks with White City Place about being able to use the studio space for free. They held a meeting to present their proposal for the podcast which led to us being donated the podcast booth for six episodes.

    They determined the aims of the podcast, which were to have real and raw conversations about key issues young people faced in their Peer Research Report ‘Growing up in Hammersmith & Fulham.’ They further wanted to present the report in a digestible format that was easy for young people to engage with. The podcast was completely led by the peer researchers, who determined everything from the episodes down to how it was designed, which led to the final image being illustrated by a peer researcher. They were rewarded with vouchers for their time.

    Annie Rockson annie@yhff.org.uk

    The purpose

    A strategic group of key stakeholders, in partnership with the Youth Council have defined the purpose of youth voice  to include: 

    Valuing the voices and lived experiences of our young residents to shape a happier, healthier and safer borough. Hammersmith & Fulham has a corporate priority of ‘doing things with residents not to them’.

    Young people as influencers, co-producers and agents of change for example, in policy, strategic boards, access to opportunities & support, funding and commissioning decisions.

    Expanding opportunities and possibilities in young people’s lives so they feel valued, are connected to their community and acquire transferable skills.

    Case study 2

    Youth Council Co-production with Healthwatch on Mental Health

    A key priority for the H&F Youth Council is to ensure that young people in the borough have the best possible support with their mental health. Prior to the onset of Covid 19 they carried out an in-depth research project engaging over 4000 young people in discussions on their mental health and access to support. They also produced a youth led video highlighting the impact of lockdown and associated isolation on young people’s mental health.

    Throughout 2021 they worked with Healthwatch and the Youth Voice Co-ordinator to carry out further research (co-producing and delivering surveys, and focus groups). They then co-produced a series of recommendations from their compiled findings for commissioners and deliverers of mental health services and schools. A co-production group has now been established (led by the Clinical Commissioning Group and including key members of the Mental Health Partnership Board) to review and action the recommendations and to feed into the Early Intervention Strategy.

    Brenda Whinnett Brenda.Whinnett@lbhf.gov.uk

    Guiding principles

    For us it is important that youth voice is:

    Visible and Valued: Young people are at the centre of articulating our priorities and determining the best ways to address them. The impact is visible, celebrated and communicated; with clear and consistent governance processes in place.

    Inclusive: Youth voice opportunities and information will be accessible to ALL and proportionate to the diversity of the borough’s young people.

    Lead to change: Youth voice should lead to tangible change. Where not possible, clear, honest and accessible explanations must be given.

    Co-production as the way we do things: We work in partnership with young people to reach collective outcomes and shared solutions. Involving them wherever possible from the onset of decision- making processes.

    Creative fun and meaningful: Involvement is meaningful, fun and engaging for young people using the methods and platforms that young people want us to use.

    Rewarded: Young people will be rewarded and recognised for their time, commitment, ideas and hard work with a clear progression route.

    Safe and positive: Any possible risks to the physical or emotional safety of young people should be mitigated and adequate support and training provided to fully prepare and empower young people to be meaningfully involved.

    Case study 3 

    Corporate Parenting Board

    These meetings are held quarterly through the year and during school holidays. Young people attend these meeting alongside councillors, managers and officers with the service. These meetings give young people the opportunity to ask questions and respond to developments and various areas of improvement across the service in relation to the 3 priorities for the young people:

    •    Settled and Belong
    •    Safe, Happy and Healthy
    •    Thriving Adults

    The Children in Care Council and Care Leavers have also worked alongside the Corporate Parenting Board to co-design the New Pathway Plan. A Young Inspector Programme has also been established with young people receiving training to inspect and co-produce recommendations to improve the services they receive including those provided by Centre Point.

    Nathesha Ashbourne Nathesha.Ashbourne@lbhf.gov.uk

    The journey

    At the start of this process,  August 2021, youth voice was  highly valued, with young people  regularly consulted and involved  in decision making and some positive examples of co-production  taking place with young people  throughout the borough. This is reflected in the diagram.

    We wanted to build on these developments and work collaboratively to further strengthen, streamline and expand the reach and impact and to embed co-production with young people as the way we do things. The strategic group worked in collaboration with Youth Council, to review youth voice arrangements, develop recommendations and a clear governance process.

    Case study 4

    Youith Voice Champion

    The role of Youth Champion is an important one for the Hammersmith and Fulham Local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership. As a newly formed LSCP we are keen to ensure that our young people have the chance to inform and contribute, and to provide us with robust challenge to ensure that we are working on issues that matter to them.

    The Chair of the LSCP, Mike Howard holds regular meetings with Cat Miller (LSCP Business Manager), Brenda Whinnett, Youth Voice coordinator and Gareth Dixon CEO Young H&F Foundation, to go through the agenda for the LSCP Forum.

    The Forum is a meeting where all the partners meet on a quarterly basis to address topics that are in line with the LSCP Priorities. Brenda and Gareth work closely with young people in the borough and are
    able to frame issues through a young person’s lens, to give us different perspectives.

    The aim of this is to ensure that as an LSCP we are capturing young people’s views, and critically, responding directly to issues that are top priority for our young people who live in H&F. This links closely
    to the Youth Voice Purpose and Principles by valuing young people’s views and experiences, supporting them to be agents of change and encouraging co-production and decision making.

    Gareth Dixon gareth@yhff.org.uk
    Brenda Whinnett Brenda.Whinnett@lbhf.gov.uk
    Nathesha Ashbourne Nathesha.Ashbourne@lbhf.gov.uk

    Our priorities

    We identified some key priority areas:

    Ensuring Inclusivity & Proportionality and that young people are empowered to be meaningfully involved.

    Developing a hybrid of face to face and virtual delivery for youth voice, structured online sessions and informal drop in sessions, alongside the use of social media and other youth focused platforms to enable a much wider and inclusive engagement of young people.

    Strengthening collaborative working Capturing a ‘menu’ of feedback from young people and mapping of youth voice communication - an accessible central point of information.

    To demonstrate the impact of youth voice in a clear and consistent way.

    A consistent process for involvement in commissioning decisions.

    Agreed governance and feedback process for young people’s involvement in strategic boards and partnerships.
    A consistent approach for capturing informal youth voice via peer to peer conversations, via youth and social workers.

    Engaging with young people in ways that they want us to engage with them.

    A short-term action plan was produced to meet these priorities.

    Case study 5

    Youth Council training on appropriate terminology

    The H&F Youth Council work with the borough’s Youth Voice Coordinator and Equalities Lead to produce a training session for schools and LBHF colleagues (through a lunch and learn session) highlighting the correct use of appropriate and inclusive terminology for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

    The training session was recorded and will be used as training tool.

    Brenda Whinnett Brenda.Whinnett@lbhf.gov.uk

    Timeline of key achievements

    Aug 21 to Dec 21
    Strategy group & Youth Council reviewed prioritised, and defined the purpose and principles

    Sept 21
    Produced a collaborative short- term action plan
    Aug 21
    Empowerment sessions for disabled young people (ongoing work leading to meaningful co-production)

    Oct 21
    Bigger better, more diverse Youth Council

    Nov 21
    Designed and created the Youth Voice Champion Role to strengthen youth voice governance.

    Jan 22
    Young Grant Makers awarded £50k grants to local organisations
    Nov 21
    Peer Researchers podcast ‘Illuminate’ released

    Mar 22
    Youth Mayor and UK Youth Parliament Elections
    Communication - Youth focused comms plan (social media, video & podcasts)
    Communication with professionals and sharing the resource

    Apr 22 onwards
    Embed into policy and practice Moving to a hybrid model of youth voice delivery Communication and training with professionals -sharing the resources

    May to Sep 22
    Demonstrating Impact

    Jun 22
    Youth Achievement Awards 2022

    Sep 22
    Youth Voice Engagement Strategy 2023 (to be completed by March 2023)

    The Youth Voice Champion role

    The purpose of the Youth Voice Champion role is ‘To  champion youth voice and  engagement, ensuring that the voice of young people is heard  in relation to decisions being  made about them’.

    Part of the role is to provide scrutiny and challenge at meetings and boards where adults discuss young people when they are not present. This way, if young people’s voices haven’t been heard, we can ask why not and discuss ways in which they can be.

    Regarding engaging with young people, the Youth Voice Champion can say what we are doing well, what should be done differently and how we can make engagement with young people more valuable.

    The Youth Voice Champion will bring knowledge and insight from young people, so that it influences improvements, supports strategic planning, and helps adults make effective and efficient decisions.

    Why we need this role

    • It will help us hear what young people have to say about the important issues affecting them.
    • It will help young people have a better understanding of what is going on for them.
    • To inform young people that we want to hear from them so we can make improvements that make a positive difference to their life.
    • To ensure young people can be involved in making services work for them by engaging with consultations and reviews.
    • To enable young people to have the confidence to speak up and be unapologetically themselves.
    • To certify that Youth Voice in H&F is inclusive, diverse, and as reflective of the local.

    Case study 6

    Young Interview Panels

    Children and young people are trained to be involved in interviews of CHS professionals. Recently diverse and representatives panels of young people have been involved in the interview process for the Director of Education for SEND and the OD for Children’s and Young People Services.

    Brenda Whinnett Brenda.Whinnett@lbhf.gov.uk 

    Nathesha Ashbourne Nathesha.Ashbourne@lbhf.gov.uk

    Mapping of Youth Voice and menu of feedback

    A mapping of youth voice opportunities and ‘menu’ of feedback (including local, national and regional youth focused research) has been collated by the Youth Voice Coordinator and is intended for use by professionals to avoid over consulting and duplication and to strengthen the impact of youth voice.

    Case study 7

    Grant Makers

    Young Hammersmith & Fulham opened small grant applications so local organisations and projects servicing young people had the opportunity to apply for funding.

    We wanted to put young people at the heart of these funding decisions and upskills them with essential employability skills and an understanding of the charity sector.

    This programme brings together a group of young people aged 14 – 24 with a passion to make Hammersmith and Fulham a better place. The panel are given training and introduced to the challenges charities face to secure funding. They then form the young grant makers panel where they watch and the application videos sent through the grant process.

    This initiative is a unique opportunity to engage in decision-making that funds a diverse range of local projects whilst putting young people at the heart of our decision-making process.

    Nadia Harding nadia@yhff.org.uk

    Case study 8

    Disability Equality Training

    A group of disabled young people and young people with special educational needs, participated in a series of Disability Equality Training and empowerment sessions delivered by disabled trainers from ALLFIE (The Alliance for Disabled Education) which covered the following topics:

    •    The social model of disability (address oppression experienced by disabled people)
    •    Defining ‘disability’
    •    An overview of the Equality Act
    •    Help to recognise disabling barriers and identify solutions
    •    Speaking up and campaigning (See full evaluation report)

    The young people have co-produced a video outlining their recommendations for inclusion
    and inclusive youth provision. The intention is that the video will inform future commissioning decisions and next steps included the young people co coproducing a QA framework for the inclusive employment support and inclusivity training offer.

    Brenda Whinnett Brenda.Whinnett@lbhf.gov.uk

    Tamara Stuiver tamara.stuiver@aod.org.uk

    Scott Tweed Scott.Tweed@lbhf.gov.uk

    The ask

    We ask you, the professionals working with or deciding on services and opportunities for young people, to adopt this youth centred approach to youth voice. Please share and lead discussions with your teams.

    How can you apply the purpose, guiding principles and resources (the mapping, role of the Youth Voice Champion and case studies) in your service or organisation? If for example, your team is building an
    assessment framework, service specification or planning a new project, how will evidence that you have
    co-produced this with young people? That you have used the feedback already captured in the mapping? That the process has been purposeful and meaningful for the young involved and they have been fully informed throughout the process?

    This document and associated resources can be found at: https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/youthvoice

    Contact the Youth Voice Coordinator Brenda.Whinnett@lbhf.gov.uk or CEO of Young Hammersmith & Fulham Gareth.Dixon@lbhf.gov.uk for more info.

    Case study 9

    Youth Justice Survey consultation addressing disproportionality

    A survey has been co-produced by colleagues in the Youth Offending Service (soon to be renamed the Youth Justice Service) to explore disproportionality amongst service users and to inform the future direction of the service and wider in Children’s Services.

    The survey (which is completed in 1:1 discussions with the young people) showed the three most prevalent areas for young people working with the service to be

    •    Cannabis,
    •    Knife crimes
    •    Racially aggravated offences

    Results are being shared with the management board.

    Polly Green Polly.Green@lbhf.gov.uk

    Tereza Harvey Tereza.Harvey@lbhf.gov.uk

    With thanks to

    Annie Rockson: annie@yhff.org.uk

    Brenda Whinnett: Brenda.Whinnett@lbhf.gov.uk

    Nathesha Ashbourne: Nathesha.Ashbourne@lbhf.gov.uk

    Amelia Steele: Amelia.Steele@lbhf.gov.ukv

    Gareth Dixon: gareth@yhff.org.uk

    Cat Miller: cat.miller2@lbhf.gov.uk

    Nadia Harding: gareth@yhff.org.uk

    Tamara Stuiver: tamara.stuiver@aod.org.uk

    Scott Tweed: Scott.Tweed@lbhf.gov.uk

    1. Co-production refers to a way of working where service providers and users, work together to reach a collective outcome. The approach is value-driven and built on the principle that those who are affected by a service are best placed to help design it.

Youth Voice progress

  • Launch of co-produced Youth Strategy summer 22. 68 people attended
  • Hybrid Delivery Model co-produced by young people
  • 192 young people given their views in person and 1000s more online
  • Young people involved in interviews for key posts in CHS
  • Embedding the purpose and principles eg in commissioning process
  • Youth Voice Champion Role adopted by boards and partnerships
  • Co-producing services and opportunities
  • Increasingly diverse Youth Council
  • Developing inclusinge Youth Voice network
  • Mapping of Youth Voice 'menu' of feedback and youth voice central webpage
  • Youth Voice Instagram page

Plans for 2023

  • Youth Voice calendar & Youth Council 'roadshow'
  • More in person and more drop in opportunities
  • Youth Council manifesto and evidence based research project
  • Research project exploring the barriers faced by young people in H&F
  • Youth achievements awards
  • Greater social media presence
  • Embedding co-production with young people as the 'way we do things'
  • Youth led 'virtual tour' of mental health and sexual health services
  • Strengthening communications with schools and links with school councils
  • Further developing Inclusive Youth Voice Network
  • Youth led Youth Voice Strategy

Youth Voice in action

H&F Youth Council members
Image caption: Elected Youth Cabinet members: Pictured left to right are Vince Bigas, Anastasia Odusanwo, the H&F Mayor: Emma Apthorp, Cllr Trey Campbell-Simon, Niamh Faleye and Ben Ruzbehan.

Youth Council

Get involved in our Youth Council

  • Aged 11-25?
  • Live or go to school in Hammersmith & Fulham?
  • Care about other young people and issues that affect them, including access to quality jobs and work experience, fun things to do and support when they need it?
  • Want an opportunity to debate the big issues that will affect your future?
  • Something really positive to add to your CV, references and earn rewards including certificates, vouchers and trips out.

As the voice of the young people in the borough, the Youth Council create innovative ways to get their views and present them to decision makers. They also give their opinion on policies, activities and services and are involved in the recruitment of professionals that work with young people.

To find out more contact Brenda.Whinnett@lbhf.gov.uk

Join the Youth Council

Youth Council manifesto 22-25

Our aims

  • To ensure that ALL young people in our borough have a ‘voice’ that is listened to by decision makers and can contribute to the decisions that affect them.
  • To ensure that young people are well informed about the opportunities, activities and services available to them.

What does the Youth Council do?

  • We meet every week (hybrid of face to face and virtual meetings to update and plan future projects.
  • Design ways to seek and share young people’s views (such as consultation events, videos, social media, questionnaires and pod casts)
  • Co-produce activities, services and opportunities for young people
  • Research and campaign on issues that affect young people locally and nationally.
  • Help interview and select professionals to work with young people.

Elected Youth Cabinet

A new Youth Mayor, Deputy Youth Mayor, Member of Youth Parliament and Deputy Member of Youth Parliament were elected in March 22.

Young people aged 11-19 who live or study in H&F voted with over 4000 votes received.

Meet your Youth Cabinet

If you would like to invite the Youth Mayor to your event, please visit the Mayor’s office webpage and book through the contact details provided. 

Ben Ruzbehan, 16, from the Phoenix Academy in White City, was elected as H&F’s new Youth Mayor. He promised to work towards raising social awareness, reducing crime, increasing tolerance of minorities, and providing better support for H&F’s young people.

Niamh Faleye, 14, from the Hurlingham Academy in Fulham, was elected as H&F’s Deputy Youth Mayor. Within her manifesto she pledged to work to close the gaps between minority groups and to create safe spaces in schools for students to engage in open conversations around sexuality and identity.

Anastasia Odusanwo, 16, also from the Hurlingham Academy, was elected as H&F’s new Member of Youth Parliament. Over the next year she wants to work on increasing career advice, particularly for non-traditional career paths, and life skills taught in schools.

Vince Bigas, 16, from the Fulham College Academy, was elected as H&F’s Deputy Member of Youth Parliament. Within his manifesto he pledged to work to improve the mental health of young people, particularly those suffering from loneliness.

2022 candidates manifestos

Watch the video of candidates talking about why they want to be youth councillors

Read the manifestos of the 2022 nominees

H&F_Youth (@h_f_youth) • Instagram photos and videos

Youth Voice calendar 2023

10 January 2023, 5:30-6:30pm - Virtual Youth Council Meeting
New Year Check in- Review of manifesto priorities & Youth Voice Calendar

11 January 2023, 6-7pm - Youth Achievement Awards Panel (Every Wed at 6pm starting 11 Jan 2023)  
Virtual meeting for young people planning delivery of YAAs

17 January 2023, 5:30-7:30pm - Youth Council Tour of the West Youth Zone
5 YCs to receive a tour of WEST Youth Zone & Meet Youth Panel

24 January 2023, 5:30-6:30pm - Virtual Youth Council Meeting
10 HB Youth Council Support of Sexual Health & Relationship Services

31 January 2023, 5-7pm - In Person Youth Council Meeting & Youth Panel for Arts Strategy
Youth Council In Person Meeting and YP age 16+ consultation on the Arts Strategy
The Irish Centre

7 February 2023, 5pm-6:30pm - Manifesto Groups meet     

14 February 2023, 5:30-6:30pm - Virtual Youth Council Meeting