Amplifying Youth Voice: The Impact of Youth Voice Teams in our new strategy
Kianna Leader – a Youth Voice Officer here at The National Lottery Community Fund shares how young people’s ideas and insights has helped to shape our new strategy, It starts with community
There’s been a growing recognition of the importance of incorporating youth voice in decision-making processes that directly affect young people. The National Lottery Community Fund has taken a huge step towards empowering youth voice via its Youth Voice Teams, which have played an important role in contributing to our new strategy by identifying the needs of young people and shaping their future funding priorities.
Phase one: Identifying needs through research
Phase one of the strategy renewal process was all about gathering knowledge from communities. The England Youth Voice Team collaborated with #iwill to conduct youth-led peer research. This approach allowed young people to engage directly with their peers and gain valuable insights into their needs and aspirations. By using their understanding of the challenges faced by young people in England, the team provided critical input to youth-led peer research top tips which reached over 400 funding staff.
Additionally, the Wales Youth Voice Team received training in research techniques to effectively explore the needs of young people locally. Through surveys, interviews, and focus groups, they gathered essential data that informed the funding stream for young people in Wales – The Mind Our Future Fund. Similarly, the Northern Ireland Youth Voice Team have also interviewed and surveyed young people and the organisations that support them. This invaluable feedback will be used to shape the 2024 funding stream that will support young people there. The benefit of this peer-to-peer research is that we were able to gain authentic insight into the needs of young people directly from young people themselves.
Phase two: Influencing decision-making through dialogue:
Phase two was all about having conversations to really understand what we were hearing. The Youth Voice Teams had the opportunity to speak at roundtable discussions, engaging directly with colleagues who were part of our deep dive process on thematic areas and other stakeholders including industry experts. These discussions provided a platform for the Youth Voice Team members to articulate the perspectives and concerns of young people, helping us to better understand the needs of the sector as a whole.
Additionally, the Youth Voice Teams took the lead in organising an event in Birmingham, bringing together young grant makers from different funders. By facilitating meaningful discussions, the teams created a space which deepened our understanding of what young people expect from funders. This included in-depth discussion around what funders must, should and shouldn’t do. The event allowed for collaboration and an exchange of ideas among young people from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, leading to a lot of healthy debate and discussions. Many were strongly welcomed as they are reflected in the new strategy through the Children & young people community-led mission.
Phase three: Active involvement in strategy implementation:
Looking ahead, the Youth Voice Teams will continue to be integral to the implementation of our new strategy. Their involvement will ensure that the perspectives and needs of young people remain at the forefront of the process. By actively participating in the implementation phase, the Youth Voice Teams will help to create positive change and address the challenges faced by communities across the UK.
Strengthening the strategy
This journey highlights the significant sector shift towards empowering young people and giving them a platform to influence decision-making processes. Through the Youth Voice Teams’ research, conversations, and ongoing participation, they have played a huge role in identifying the needs of young people and shaping our funding priorities. This has not only strengthened the strategy, but also ensures that The National Lottery Community Fund’s future is co-created with those who will be most affected by its decisions.
Hear from Youth Voice Team member Kim, who shares her thoughts on our new strategy’s focus on children and young people.