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Participation Focus: Summer event attracts crowd

The below copy has been written by one our Young Champions, MICHELLE VILE and in the future we will be publishing further pieces written by young people who work with us.

On 26th August 2016, the Young Advisors from the Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Project held a Summer PIE (Participation Involvement Event) at the Anna Freud National Centre.  Unfortunately, there was no actual pie. However, it was an interesting and fun day. 

We had people from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services all over the country; some already involved in participation, other who weren’t. The purpose of this event was to make people more aware of participation and its importance. I personally believe young people should have a say in the services that they use.

Alongside the other Young Champions and Participation Officer (Nicholas Morgan), I helped deliver a workshop about the work done at Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and what our role as a Young Champions is.

We started with a brief introduction, followed by an icebreaker, asking attendees how they thought young people could be more involved in the main areas of work that the Centre does. To make this a bit more exciting and colourful, we presented this visually on pre-cut paper trees. We provided paint and asked everyone to put a thumb print next to their written ideas, which turned out rather amazingly (if I do say so myself)!

We went on to explain our participation audit review, in which we conduct interviews with Centre staff to identify the potential for further participation in the future. We also had an information booth for people to visit during breaks and ask any question, along with a sign-up sheet for young people who wanted to be involved in participation across the Centre.

I enjoyed getting to meet people and find out about what participation meant to them, as well as seeing several interested in our role and future opportunities. Oh, and obviously using Smart Gym technology because it is literally one of the best things ever! Hopefully we’ll hold another event next year, maybe with actual pie this time.