- YPAG's should attempt to ensure a diverse and inclusive membership, offering opportunities to all young people.
- Consider the impact of age, ethnicity, gender, health status and socioeconomic status on involvement and the diversity of your YPAG
“It’s important for young people to have their say on research because we have different views and needs”
You should not expect all children and young people to respond to adverts about involvement or to feel comfortable and confident engaging in discussion groups. Your communication with children and young people needs to be appropriate to their circumstances, e.g. using traditional email for someone who doesn’t use email or adapting your communication style to accommodate people with learning difficulties, or a hearing, visual or physical disability.
What is it like to be involved in a YPAG?
Lizzy Choong speaks about her experiences being involved in health research since the age of 11, including being part of the Greet Ormond Streat Hospital Young Person’s Advisory Group and Young People’s Forum.
This podcast is part of The Diversifying Research Podcast series by Imperial College London.
In the beginning
When starting a group it is difficult to have a diverse and representative membership of children and young people in your YPAG. However over time and with planning it can develop to include a wide and diverse group of young people.
Decisions on who should be involved is something the research team should consider right from the beginning. The age, sex, socioeconomic status, health status, previous experience, and ethnicity of potential recruits are all important considerations.
Recruiting very young children can be possible in a YPAG if support and guidance is given. Mentoring given by older and more experienced members of a group can be useful and assist in this area.
Timing, accessibility, and venue of a YPAG meeting
It is important to be as flexible as possible in making arrangements for activities that will involve children and young people and to take account of their lifestyles and availability. It may be best, for example, to hold meetings or activities in the evening, weekends or during school holidays. A good idea is to ask the children and young people involved what’s best for them!
The length of meetings should match the attention spans of children and young people involved. Facilitators need to be flexible enough to adapt to unexpected changes during a meeting, and it is important to make sure there are adequate breaks during the session. Remember that each meeting and group are always different.
To ensure children and young people’s health, safety and well being, it is also important to:
- Hold activities in venues that are accessible to young people and are easy to access in terms of travel.
- Make health and safety checks on the venue prior to an activity
- Ensure that DBS checks have been undertaken for all staff involved in the activity
- Undertake risk assessments
- Make sure there is public liability insurance