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SpunOut.ie Youth Participation Assessment 2013

Blog Posts August 28th2013

SpunOut.ie Youth Participation Assessment 2013

Introduction

During 2012 and 2013, SpunOut.ie invested in the development of high quality youth participation structures and policies. These structures and policies were based on best practice, drawing on guidelines from the NYCI and other areas.

One of the key aspects of youth participation is evaluation. In August 2013, SpunOut.ie carried out an evaluation with the members of its Action Panel. The evaluation was based around the concepts outlined in the National Quality Standards Framework (NQSF) for Youth Work.

  1. Youth work should be young person centered, focusing on rights and active voluntary participation

  2. Youth work is committed to promoting the safety and wellbeing of young people

  3. That youth work is educational and developmental

  4. Youth work should promote and ensure equality and inclusiveness

  5. That youth work should be focused on quality and constant improvement.

Findings

1. Length of involvement

  • There is a good level of experience with the Action Panel. 72% of those on the panel have been involved for between six months and one year.

2. Reasons for wanting to get involved with the Action Panel.

  • SpunOut.ie asked its panel members why they were interested in being involved. Why do young people feel that participation in the organisation is important to them?
It sounded great Wanted to do more with SpunOut.ie Need for people my age to be involved

Did work experience and wanted to keep going I couldn’t bear to say goodbye after work experience Interested in the areas of work that SpunOut.ie is involved in

Because of what the website has done for me SpunOut.ie helped me when I was younger Something that I believed in, that was worthwhile

I believe strongly in young people being represented  To try and encourage youth involvement To use my voice

3. Highlights of involvement

  • Social aspects – engaging with other young people at meetings around topics and campaigns
  • Events – such as #SpunOutLive – the SpunOut.ie live webcast in March 2013
  • Connectedness – to a cause and other people. Respondents said that they were proud to be apart of the group.
  • Seeing the impact of young people being socially active
  • Pushing boundaries – in team building but in other areas, while being supportive of team members at the same time
  • Media – being involved in initiatives such as Hello Sunday Morning. Media creation such as filming, being pushed to the edges of comfort zones.
  • Campaigns – developing skills around communication and leadership

4. Low points of involvement

  • Attendance at meetings – some of the panel members found it difficult when there was a low level of attendance at some meetings. Other participants were frustrated that they couldn’t get to meetings due to other commitments and were disappointed to be missing out on opportunities and training.
  • Media attention around SpunOut.ie’s sexual health content – Understanding of the need for content but frustration at the coverage and discourse that followed.
  • Space – sometimes the space that meetings are held in can be a bit limited

5. Do you feel that the SpunOut.ie Action Panel is young person centered?

  • This questions stems from the NQSF, do young people feel that the work carried out in the Panel is focused on them and issues that face young people. But further than that, are communications, ideas and all other factors involved with meetings ‘youth centered’?
90% of respondents felt that the panel was “Always” young person centered.
One person commented that it would be good if there “was someway to centre it more so on young people nationally than primarily on Action Panel members”.

6. Do you feel that young people are involved in the design and delivery of what SpunOut.ie does?

  • Again this questions stems from the NQSF, we asked young people if they feel there is sufficient involvement for them of young people in the core tasks that SpunOut.ie undertake in their service delivery

 

  • 81% felt that this is always the case
  • 10% felt that this was sometimes the case
  • One person commented that they felt that SpunOut.ie’s YouTube content could be youth proofed.

7. Does the SpunOut.ie staff create a safe and supportive environment for you?

  • SpunOut.ie has a strong and robust child and youth protection policy in place, allied to the Action Panel’s own policy that they created, that includes aspects of behaviour, learning goals and other areas.
100% of respondents feel that a safe and supportive environment is provided

8. Do you feel that the SpunOut.ie is a good learning environment?

  • One of the core aspects for SpunOut.ie, of youth participation, is the development of skills through informal and hands on education. No only this, but learning from peers and from active experimentation.
91% said yes, always
9% said sometimes

9. Does SpunOut.ie promote diversity and inclusiveness?

  • Again this question stemmed from the NQSF. Focusing on the make up of the panel but always how the panel deals with topics and how SpunOut.ie works to ensure that young people coming from different perspectives and identities are facilitated
73% said always
10% said sometimes

Other responses here included:

  • “I think we should involve someone from the travelling community”
  • “Definitely - it seems at times as though the Action Panel is quite socially homogenous but then it wouldn't be right to have people of more diverse backgrounds included as tokenism either”.

10. Do you feel it is easy for you to be involved in the SpunOut.ie Action Panel?

This questions was kept quiet broad, and responses covered a number of areas

Over all responses focused on

  1. Personal situations (college, exams etc.)
  2. Respect
  3. Staff engagement
  4. Communications
  5. Facilitation of travel and accommodation

 

The majority of young people felt it was easy to take part, with the only barrier being other personal commitments

Definitely, everything is made clear, I feel respected there and everyone in the offices and on the panel is nice and contactable if I have questions.
There always has to be a happy balance so you do get the odd event that clashes with something or other. Apart from this, communication is quite good and meetings are easy to attend 90% of the time.

11. Is there anything SpunOut.ie can do to improve your experience on the SpunOut.ie Action Panel?

More action based meetings  More training opportunities  SpunOut.ie with a great outreach presence so more people can benefit from their work
A drive to include more people from the 22-25 year age bracket to reflect diversity of issues Safe talk training (Mental Health)  Keep on doing what you’re doing

Conclusions:

Evaluation and the integration of practice-based learning is key for the continued development of youth participation in general. The key findings that SpunOut.ie will strive to integrate, solve and act on are:

  • Attendance = ensuring that SpunOut.ie maximizes the opportunities for young people to attend meetings, by being planned, resourced and including young people in date setting
  • Highlights for young people have been based around events and learning. SpunOut.ie will strive to offer more opportunities in these areas.
  • Space for meetings = SpunOut.ie will make sure to make use of appropriate spaces that fit the needs of the group and guests
  • Youth Centered = while young people can represent their views and perspectives, it may be difficult to represent views of young people from different experience/backgrounds who are not present at the meetings. SpunOut.ie will work on ways of balancing this, by including research data, trends from SpunOut.ie and other information.
  • SpunOut.ie will look at ensuring it’s YouTube videos are youth proofed.
  • Diversity = SpunOut.ie will explore ways to ensure that equality of opportunity to apply to the Action Panel exists, while ensuring no tokenism takes place. Applications will be taken in a number of ways and will be outlined in an updated Action Panel Policy
  • SpunOut.ie will seek to include more young people from the 22-25 year old age bracket, to ensure greater representation.