My Say Matters
My Say Matters film
Your say matters
If you have something to say or want to share an idea, get involved!
Did you know that children and young people under the age of 19 make up a quarter of the number of people living in Barnet? That’s almost 100,000 children and young people using local services and attending our schools and colleges.
With this many of you living in our borough, we want to make sure Barnet is a great place to live and go to school.
We need to talk to and listen to you and your families that use our services. Tell us how well we are doing and what we need to do differently to help us make the changes that you want to see.
My Say Matters strategy
Barnet Child Participation and Family Involvement Strategy 2022 to 2025 (PDF, 3.68 MB)
Children and young people helped us develop the My Say Matters strategy. Many of which have told us that they know they have a right to be heard and they have lots to say.
Children and young people in the borough told us that equality, diversity and inclusion need to be at the heart of My Say Matters. This means everyone will be supported to share their voice and express themselves fully. Especially those from racially diverse, migrant and LGBT+ communities, disabled children and other marginalised groups.
They hope that this strategy will ensure that their voices are listened to and that their ideas, opinions and feedback will have an impact.
The strategy sets out the way we are going to connect with and involve children and young people. We want to hear what children and young people think so that it can help us make decisions and shape our services. This will happen by making sure we give children and young people the time, space and resources to do this.
We will listen to, work and act on what children and young people tell us.
We will also be evaluating the impact and effectiveness of our strategy with children and young people.
We look forward to expanding our approach and increasing children and young people's influence over the services they use and things that affect them.
Recent achievements and activity
The Young People’s Assembly on Climate Change
The Young People’s Assembly on Climate Change has recruited 20 young people between the ages of 11-17 years old to answer the question:
Barnet has declared a climate emergency. What more can we do together to make Barnet more sustainable, now and in the future?
From March 2023 until May 2023, the young participants will attend 3 main sessions where they will learn more about climate change and sustainability. They will explore topics such as the natural environment and biodiversity, transport, sustainable consumption, and green skills.
This assembly takes place in parallel with the main Citizen’s Assembly for 18-year-olds +, which would ask the same question. Together, participants will work to produce recommendations for a more sustainable Barnet, which will be published in a report at the end of the process.
A1000 Widening Consultation
On Monday 9 January 2023, Barnet Council held a workshop with 11 young people on the future of the experimental A1000 Cycle lane scheme. The scheme has seen the creation of 3.2km of cycle lanes in the Finchley/Golders Green areas of Barnet borough, providing a safe and direct green corridor for commuters and leisure cyclists alike.
The young participants shared their unique views and experiences of cycling in the borough. Some of them talked specifically about how they use part of the A1000 road in terms of being a passenger on a bus, in a car, walking as pedestrian on the side pavements and indeed as a cyclist.
The feedback gathered from young people forms part of a wider A1000 consultation and will inform the future of the cycle lane.
Family Services’ Young Commissioners programme is an opportunity for young people between the ages of 11 to 18 who live in or attend school in Barnet to work alongside our commissioners to develop new skills, meet new young people and gain AQA unit awards.
We are currently onboarding 2 young commissioners, with the aim to kick start the programme by the end of March 2023. The programme lasts for 9 months, after which they’ll graduate the programme with three AQA unit awards, as well as any references they may need for college, university, and school applications.
Whilst young commissioners are on the programme, they’ll not only be gaining new skill sets, but they’ll also have the opportunity to provide their own input in the development and commissioning of services for their communities.
Season's Greetings card design for partners
2022 has come to an end and was another year of remarkable contribution from Barnet’s young people. Their efforts and involvement with important matters, decision making, and events were inspirational and so valuable to us all. This is evident in the fantastic achievements and activities below.
We finished the year wanting to create a season’s greetings card from family services for our staff and partners as well as members of our community, but we felt this would be most meaningful if we could include the input from our young people. As such, we used the excellent design of D, age 16, for our season’s greetings card.
The card was loved by all.
We wish you all well for 2023 and we look forward to another exciting year of collaboration with Barnet’s brilliant young people.
Barnet’s Child in Care Council open our 2022 Family Services Staff Conference
On 9 November, BOP (short for Barnet on Point) our Children in Care Council opened Barnet’s Family Services Staff Conference with a speech sharing the importance of #youthvoice and what it means to them to have a safe space to express their individuality. It means the world to them to have the appropriate support from their carers, social workers, and all other professionals working with children and young people.
“BOP is a support group for us, a safe space where we have a voice, where we can learn that we have opportunities, where you can express your individuality without feeling judged because the young people in the group have the same lived experiences.
It means a lot to us to have discussions with young people from different backgrounds who can relate – we are family. BOP helps you have a voice, it makes us understand the importance of having a voice and we feel that we are listened to. At BOP you can always find someone to confide in. Even if you are shy and going through a lot, someone else will say it for you and it makes it easier.” BOP Members 2022
BOP also led an exercise for the whole staff group ( 400 people!) where they were asked to bake a recipe for their perfect person who works with children. Staff did some really creative recipes and BOP shared what they wanted the worker to be like. This was so inspiring that one staff member sang her reply!
2022 Achievements and Activities
View our 2022 achievements and activities
How you can get involved by joining one of our forums
We have a participation group to suit everyone! Below are details of some of our more established forums, most of which are for ages 11 to 18 years, to find out more click on the related links section of this page. Each of our forums are supported by our Participation Officers and young people who attend get to learn about the workings of the council, build new skills (for example public speaking and event planning) as well as the chance to socialise with those with similar interests.
This group meets monthly and gives advice to the council and other services about plans and policies to make sure that they reflect the needs and ideas of young people. Recent topics discussed have included responding to climate change, delivering services for young people with mental health needs, covid and equality. Feedback from young people has influenced policy documents and the way services are offered.
This group is linked to the councils democratic decision making process and gives young people a chance to share their views with local Councillors. It meets monthly and might suit someone who wants to get involved in civic life at a local or regional level.
Further information on Youth Assembly
Youth Parliament and Youth Ambassadors
We have recently elected our 2 members of Youth Parliament and Youth Ambassadors – 7,700 Barnet schoolchildren elect their new Youth Ambassadors and Youth Parliament Members
More on Youth Parliament and Youth Ambassadors
Barnet on Point (#BOP): our Children in Care Council
This forum is for our children in care. Young people meet regularly to feedback about the services they use, to plan events and to socialise and have fun. BOP members have shared their views with staff about what makes a good social worker, contributed to child friendly documents and delivered training for foster carers.
Barnet Inclusive Next Generation (BING): Barnet SEND Youth Voice Forum
BING is for young people with special educational needs and disabilities. BING meet monthly with a mix of business and social sessions. The forum shapes service delivery, Barnet’s “local offer” and has recently had impact making a video sharing their experiences with schools.
Y-QAG: Young Quality Assurance Group
Y-QAG is for young people who use Family Services in particular those with a social worker. It meets to gather feedback from young people about their experiences of using our services and things they want to change or improve. This is a new group and details are available from email@example.com
Young People and Mental Health: Barnet Integrated Clinical Services (BICS)
Barnet Integrated Clinical Services (BICS) provide services to children and young people with mild to moderate mental health needs in Barnet. BICS offer a range of evidence-based interventions, including individual therapy, family therapy, groups, and workshops.
We care about what children, young people, and families have to say either about using these services or the support you want to see for those with a mental health need. Young people can participate in lots of activities to support other young people’s mental health - this includes creating podcasts and online content, participating in focus groups, having a say on who we hire and much more!
If you would like to get involved, or have any questions, please visit https://www.barnet.gov.uk/bics or email BICS@barnet.gov.uk
Other ways to get involved
Sexual Health and Wellbeing – Give your views if using Brook Services
Brook is the UK's leading sexual health and wellbeing charity for young people. We offer young people and adults lots of ways to participate in Brook’s work, to help us to ensure our work is the best it can be for people in local areas and across the UK. For more information and for opportunities please visit: https://www.brook.org.uk/get-involved/participation/
North Central London Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Lived Experience Community
This health service project is a paid opportunity for CAMHS service users, ex service users, parents, carers and people who haven’t been able to access CAMHS to join North Central London’s Lived Experience Community.
We meet once a month in the evening to voice your opinions, implement changes in existing services and co-produce new CAMHS services alongside the co-production team. Co-production is transformational and gives power to the service users and their community.
Please email Hahmed@tavi-port.nhs.uk if you are interested.
Junk food debate - 22 and 23 March
The Junk food debate
Barnet Public Health kicks off a new youth led social action initiative with focus groups which put young people at the centre of the conversation. The feedback from the focus groups will help shape the development of the 'Junk Food Debate' project.
The project aims to empower young people to make positive changes to their food choices, environment, and wellbeing through nutrition education and upskilling. This feeds into local efforts to support young people in sustaining healthy lifestyles including healthy weight maintenance.
We are looking for youth advisors
Are you aged 12 to 16 and living in Barnet?
Join us for a 1 hour workshop (online or in person) so we can hear your thoughts and ideas on our new youth led social action initiative. £10 voucher for each participant.
The workshops are on Wednesday 22 March, online/zoom and Thursday 23 March at the Unitas Youth Zone.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 07708382333 to sign up.
If you would like to get involved or find out more information please email us: email@example.com
Your say matters!