The London Youth Involvement Project
Demographic: young people aged 12-15
Delivery setting: communities
Years active: 2010 - 2013
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keywords: youth engagement; London
About the LYIP
The London Youth Involvement Project (LYIP) was an ambitious three-year project which aimed to place young people's voices at the heart of debates around drug and alcohol prevention.
Drawing on Mentor's extensive experience in youth participation, it championed the right of young people to be heard and highlighted just how essential it is to listen to the very people we aim to prevent coming to harm from drugs and alcohol.
The project was funded by the City Bridge Trust and the Peter Cruddas Foundation.
I started at Mentor because I wanted to get my voice heard, but also to help other get theirs heard. I have had great fun and made loads of new friends and feel very at home in the group. I feel that my ideas are being heard and differences are made because of what I said.
- Youth Adviser
How did we make it happen?
After recruiting a team of Youth Advisers we spent time listening to what they believed the key issues were for young people in terms of drug and alcohol prevention. We then supported them to carry out research with their peers from across London into their three priority areas: drug education in school, the role of parents in prevention, and the role of police in prevention. Hundreds of young people were involved in the research, giving the Youth Advisers the confidence to assert what young Londoners really think, and to develop recommendations to present to key figures working in drug and alcohol prevention.
What did we find out?
The Youth Advisers found that a fifth of young Londoners had never received drug education and, of those who had, a third received it only once a year or less. They discovered that, while many young people felt their parents had a key role to play in educating them about drugs and alcohol, there was a belief that parents did not have the knowledge to deliver information. They heard that young people in London are frequently intimidated by adults who are drunk, particularly late at night, and that they are worried about street dealers.
What do we recommend?
Youth Advisers developed several recommendations to take to influential figures working within drug and alcohol prevention which were drawn from their research findings. A conference hosted by the Advisers revealed strong backing for all recommendations from delegates. Three received backing from over 90% of respondents: schools should be required to spend a certain amount of time of drug education; parents should have opportunities to improve their knowledge about drugs and alcohol; and that ways to increase and improve communication between young people and the police should be identified and put into practice.