Listening as part of a structured meeting

Listening as part of a structured meeting

( e.g. PCC, Trustee Body, appointing a Vicar/Bishop, parish building project)

You can't just plonk children or young people into an adult-orientated meeting and expect them to contribute! Take time to plan in advance. Think through a few practical ideas and you will create a much better environment in which children and young people can speak and listen.

  • Be clear about the importance of listening to children/young people. Help members of the PCC/Trustee Body/Consultation Group understand why this is happening and what will take place.
  • If necessary, obtain any permissions or consents for the children/young people to take part.
  • Always follow any safeguarding policy your church has in place.
  • Consider the venue - is it appropriate? Easy to get to?
  • Is the timing of the meeting suitable for children/young people - 8pm on a school night isn't the best time!
  • What about the structure/agenda? Are children/young people expected to sit through items of no relevance before participating?
  • What about the seating - is it comfortable? Arranged so that participants don't feel 'on show'?
  • How will the participants be briefed before the meeting? Make sure they know what will happen and any expectations.
  • Who will feed back any decisions/concerns/ideas to the participants?
  • Make sure that the Chair is comfortable with the arrangements - or is happy for someone else to chair.

Don't lose what's said

Keep a record of what is said. Whether it's notes, bullet points, photographs, recording the session using a voice recorder or videoing the session, make sure:

  • There is an account of what has been said, done and agreed
  • The participants are happy that their views have been fairly recorded
  • Views, opinions, suggestions and ideas are fed back to relevant stakeholders
  • Any agreed actions are followed up
  • Any further actions are fed back to the participants

Don't make it a 'one off'

  • Reflect on the process with participants - what worked well? What didn't work so well? What could be done differently?
  • What difference did it make to hear the voices of children and young people?
  • Where are the other issues that children and young people need to have a say on?
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