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What is Youth Governance and how does it work?

We have been using our six categories of Youth Participation to review the ways in which we are working collaboratively with young people whilst supporting other organisations to do the same.

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Having made significant progress with categories such as Youth Consultation, Young Producers and Youth Advocacy we have turned our attention over the past year to Youth Governance. Here are some of our top tips:

 

  • Involving young people in governance is much more multi-faceted than establishing a youth board.
  • It’s often after other behaviours, processes and policies are in place (e.g. the means by which to consult regularly with young people, or co-produce projects and events with them) that an organisation is ready and equipped to meaningfully and safely engage its participants in governance.
  • Youth Governance requires the principles, practices and culture of Youth Voice & Participation to be deeply and truly embedded, which can take many years.
  • It’s important to think about a variety of ways in which you can involve young people in governance. Being part of formal governance structures isn’t everyone’s choice or comfort zone, so there need to be other less formal ways of contributing.

 

Some of the approaches we have developed with members of Wired4Music are:

 

  • Involving young people in designing projects and initiatives at the earliest stages of fundraising.
  • Committing to having a young person on every staff recruitment panel – this means building briefing and planning time with the young person into the interview process, and making sure there’s budget to pay them for their time.
  • Evolving our board of trustees to meaningfully include people age 18-25. So far this has involved reviewing how we conduct meetings to ensure first-time trustees feel welcome and valued, and to create an equitable environment for all – regardless of age. We are currently recruiting for two new board members from our Wired4Music network – please do share the opportunity!
  • Training members of Wired4Music as facilitators so that they can co-deliver youth consultations with Sound Connections staff.
  • Making our office open and available to Wired4Music members so that the space is as much theirs as it is ours.

 

To find out more about our current young trustee recruitment and signpost people age 18-25 that you work with to it, click here.

Sound Connections recently contributed to discussion and action planning around youth voice at one of Youth Music’s grant holder gatherings. You can read the key points in a blog by Lou Barnell from A New Direction here.

For more information about Youth Voice and Participation initiatives happening nationally visit our ReWired page.

For advice and guidance on developing Youth Governance in your work please contact jennifer@sound-connections.org.uk

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