Ensuring real participation of the community and users of your project can boost the chances of your project succeeding. By giving ownership of decisions about, and management of, the project to the community, they will be a partner looking for it to succeed rather than ‘just’ a client or observer.

One simple example, which can be adapted for most groups, is the idea of Group Contracting (also see Group Contracting examples One, Two and Three).

Ensuring real participation is being recognised as good practice by many bodies including key funders such as the Big Lottery Fund. Consulting through questionnaires, meetings and even focus groups is useful, but it is much better practice to properly involve people. This powerpoint presentation will give you some ideas of how ensure real participation.

For many other case studies of youth participation, see Youth Action, which has many examples of projects where young people are contributing to their communities.

You may also find the NYA’s What’s Changed tool useful for looking at how well your organisation is enabling young people to participate. This is part of Hear by Right, a standards framework for organisations to assess and improve practice and policy on the active involvement of children and young people.