Welcome to Lifespace - Supporting young people's wellbeing

Youth Advisory Panel

Lifespace set up its first Youth Advisory Panel in November 2020 as part of their commitment to young people being involved in everything that they do, from the type of services they offer to their plans for the future. They believe that the best people to tell them what works for young people are us, young people!

What is the purpose of the YAP? 
  • We've all been supported by Lifespace and want to make the services available to even more young people
  • We want Lifespace to be a youth-led organisation 
  • We're a voice for young people- we have lots of personal experiences and knowledge which we can share and use to tell others about what we think young people need 
  • We share a commitment to making the systems that support wellbeing and mental health better, in school, in the NHS and beyond 
Who is on the Panel? 
Other young people who've been mentored by Lifespace. The group is quite small at the moment, so we're really looking forward to welcoming new members aged between 13 and 18 years. The Panel is supported by Lifespace mentors and youth workers.  

Where do we meet? 
Because we cover a wide geographical area including Stratford, Alcester, Southam, Kineton, Warwick, Henley, Shipston, Studley, Alcester and Chipping Campden we usually meet online in the evenings so that everyone can make the meetings. Sometimes in the school holidays or at weekends, we meet in person in Stratford.  

How often do we meet?
From September 2022, we'll meet once a month for two hours on one evening in the week from 5.30-7.30pm.  We understand that you cant always make every meeting, sometimes other things turn up like exams- or even fun things! 

How long do I have to commit for?
We’d love it if you could stay with us for one academic year - and even better if longer!

I’m a bit nervous about joining- but I’d like to 
It’s always a bit daunting joining something for the first time- especially if you don’t know anyone. Your Lifespace mentor can introduce you to the group your first time, or you can meet with or talk to one of the youth workers before your first meeting to find out a bit more. Everyone in the group is super friendly and understands that you can be nervous. 

Will I have to speak and have my camera on?
No. We know that some people are more confident than others, but we really encourage people who don’t feel confident to join the youth advisory panel, because we know it can help you feel more confident and you will be in a really safe and non-judgemental environment. We very much want to hear your ideas and opinions and we’d love to put a face to a name- but we know that it takes some people longer than others to feel confident about that.   

What usually happens in a meeting?
We always check in with everyone, to see how you’ve been and share any news. We usually have a few things to talk about and plan and this varies from one month to the next. Some of the things we have done in the past are: 
  • Designed postcards to give out in schools which have inspirational quotes on one side and websites and details of support organisations on the other- to give out to young people in schools.   
  • Taken part in planning the Lifespace 18th Birthday celebrations 
  • Come up with a list of helpful and unhelpful comments that people say to young people when they might be struggling  ( see list on website)  
  • Devised a survey to ask young people about their thoughts on mental health and wellbeing to help us to understand what young people need to know before they say yes’ when offered support 
So, at the meetings- we discuss all our ideas, listen to each other and come up with plans which we hope will support other young people in the future. We are always interested in hearing your ideas for something you might like to talk about or raise awareness on.    

What other things have the Panel been involved in?
Some of us have been involved in interviewing staff to work at Lifespace. The organisation really listens to and values our opinions, as we know who would be approachable and who young people would want to talk to.   Some of us were involved in a day where we meet with staff from Lifespace to look at the organisations values- we helped to shape the values we felt were most important for young people.

What will I get as a Panel member? 
  • A chance to talk about the things that matter to you, you care about and that you want to make a difference on 
  • Leadership skills which you can put onto a CV and can help you with future jobs, college, sixth form and university applications 
  • Doing something positive outside of school 
  • When we meet in person, we get pizza!
  • Meet other young people that you might have things in common with as well as other people who might offer you new ideas and interests  
  • An understanding of how a youth charity works and how you can play a key role in shaping its future direction 
  • Other panel members tell us they now feel more confident to speak in groups and to talk about things that matter to them- see what some of our panel members have to say.
OK, I’m interested, how do I get involved? There are several ways you can do this: 

1: Ask your Lifespace mentor to put you in touch with us.
2: Click here to fill out the Membership form and, if you're under 16, please ask your parent/carer to complete this form and we'll get in touch.
3: Email helen.smith@lifespace.org.uk  

Hear from Panel members...
My Mentoring Experience: 
All About Lifespace: https://youtu.be/sH0JcncmsYk

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