- Make sure all members have an opportunity to have their say during the meeting.
- Make sure all members can provide feedback and suggestions after the meeting.
- Use communication tools to ensure young people remain engaged between meetings.
During the meeting
During the meeting or activity make sure members understand the following:
- Know everyone’s name, what they do and why they are there
- Are given a pen and paper to take notes
- Are given the opportunity to have their say
- Know that they can leave a meeting for a comfort break if needed
- Are given the chance to ask questions
- Are seated in a way that encourages good communication and participation
- Understand what is being discussed and what it means for them
- Are clear about the decisions that have been made
- Enjoy themselves and are made to feel welcome!
- Know that if anything has come up in a meeting which might have caused them concern that they can speak to the YPAG lead (have this in the induction pack)
In addition, be aware of any factors that may hinder communication, such as hearing impairment, some other disability, language barriers, or cultural differences. If a child or young person is being supported by a carer speak to them and the YPAG member to agree on what this support will look like.
Also, make sure that any new people joining the group are properly briefed and told what has happened so far and the activities they are likely to be involved in. Perhaps buddy them up with a YPAG member of their age for the first session. It is very important to make them feel welcome.
After the meeting
After the meeting, make sure members:
- Have an opportunity to talk about how they thought the meeting went
- Provide ‘formal’ feedback on the activity overall as well as in specific relevant areas
- Have the chance to make suggestions about other activities for the group
- Are clear about what happens next and who will do what if relevant.
Keeping members engaged between meetings
It is a good idea to send members an invitation to each meeting or activity, either by letter or email, to confirm the details that have been discussed with them, and to ask them to let you know whether or not they can attend. Some use various methods to engage with members, such as creating WhatsApp groups, closed Facebook Groups, text messaging, emails, etc.