Widening youth voice through inclusion in Sheffield

An update on our ongoing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion project

What we are doing 

Create Sheffield is committed to tackling some of the major inequalities that lead to such differing opportunities for children and young people in our city. We are using Partnership Investment funding to focus on equality, diversity and inclusion, as this was identified as a priority area by our partners.

The work has several strands and the first is focused on people who work with children and young people and arts and culture. An independent researcher will be looking at who are our partners already, who are potential partners but may not know about Create Sheffield, and they will also consult with people who, for whatever reason, could be a partner but do not want to sign up as one. The second strand is all about youth voice. Through another commission, the Voice & Influence (V&I) team at Sheffield City Council, will help us ensure that youth voice is central to this project. The V&I team are all care-experienced young people who are specialists in gathering the voices of seldom-heard children and young people in creative ways. They are passionate about supporting organisations to listen to these voices and then use them in shaping their future work to create change.

What we have done so far

At the start of July we held an open partnership forum where we had a good turnout of people including a mix of those who are already partners and those who aren’t. We also had a number of representatives from youth services as well as services that support young people and families in areas such as housing or substance addiction. Feedback from the session was positive with one attendee from a support service commenting:

Our weaknesses are trying to connect with others to help our clients outside of the normal circles of supported housing, social care, therapy, and school. For example, I connected with someone today who may be able to link us with someone else which may enable our client to go to university to study music. Sometimes it's easy when you know where to look!

What we are going to do next

The main youth voice work will start in September where, as well as the city-wide consultation with the V&I team, we will be working with Sheffield College to engage and consult with their students. It is our intention that the findings of our research will inform city-wide strategies around art and cultural provision for children and young people. We will also continue to talk to our partners and potential partners. This work is very much about action and not just another report so watch this space!

If you would like to find out more about this work please contact laura@createsheffield.co.uk

Learn more about the origins of the project here.