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A Place in Childhood: Supporting children and young people’s participation in crisis


This blog gives an overview of the workshop that Jenny Wood, Jamie Hamilton and Sean Peacock from A Place in Childhood will present in the Third Sector Research Forum Conference on 17 February 2021.

Do Scottish children and young people have a right to contribute meaningfully to the COVID-19 Crisis Response? Young people’s views have largely been missing from the news and the response to the COVID-19 crisis. As we endure further lockdown measures, A Place in Childhood’s workshop will explore key themes from this research and invite participants to design their own research projects that respond to a real or imagined crisis for a specific marginalised group.

In April 2020, A Place in Childhood (APiC) self-funded a participatory action research project to demonstrate the importance of hearing and tracking young people’s voices. This project, led by young people from across Scotland, asked them what the challenges are and will be for them, and how they would address these if they were in charge.

Twenty-five young Scots aged between 10-16 years old participated, in teams from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirlingshire, Falkirk, and Aberdeen. These ‘Young Consultants’ led APiC through their experiences over the course of three youth-led online collaborative workshops. They began with agreeing the big changes resulting from lockdown (workshop 1). In turn, these changes provided a framework for discussing the big challenges they were facing (workshop 2). Then, in the third and final workshop, the Young Consultants devised a set of small changes that would make a big difference to their lives.

The results offer key insights into the experience of loss of face-to-face social interaction; drastic changes to schooling practices; increasing stress on family resources; an overload of screen-time; and limited access to the outdoor play and recreation activities that usually underpin youth stress-coping strategies. Remote schooling emerged as a factor that was taking a big toll on their wellbeing. The Young Consultants believed direct ‘end-user’ involvement essential for improving the roll-out of future emergency strategies.

Children and young people have both the willingness and capability to participate in all matters that affect them. We should uphold these rights, even in a lockdown situation, through online methodologies with which they are already familiar. Additionally, supporting them to develop their capacities for difficult decision-making in uncertain and complex times is paramount to ensuring they have skills needed for the future. APiC is still committed to working further with the Young Consultants involved in this project and identifying funding opportunities to continue this important work.

Website: aplaceinchildhood.org

Twitter: @placechildhood

Find out more about the conference:

Researching well – Good practice and ethics in third sector research 2021 online conference

The 6th TSRF conference took place on Wednesday 17th February 2021, 9.30am – 2.30pm via Zoom. The conference was all about ethics and good practice in third sector research.