Ben - Youth Voices
Ben, winner of LSCft's
'Service User and
Carer Experience Time to Shine
Award (October 2022).

In June 2021, Youth Voices embarked on a journey to improve youth engagement across Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCft). As we approach the end of our second year of operation, this report presents an important opportunity to review the group’s successes. From starting with three members and a shared vision, it is wonderful to see how the group has grown and the many benefits of local co-production and youth involvement.

I have relished the opportunity to be the young leader of Youth Voices, through the role of chairperson. I have had the opportunity to work alongside such a group of amazing changemakers, both young people and staff members, who all share a passion of improving healthcare.

Ben Wilson-Mayor Chairperson (2021-23)


Naomi Hardman Child and Young Person Engagement Facilitator
Naomi, presenting for
Youth Voices at LSCft's
Research Roadshow
(January 2023).

Since beginning in my role in April 2022 and providing leadership to Youth Voices it has been an incredibly rewarding experience to see this group of incredibly passionate, articulate and thought-provoking individuals work together to be the voice of young people in service improvement.

It is a delight to see the group grow in confidence, embrace opportunities presented to them, and be the change that they want to be. In a short time Youth Voices has presented itself to be a national leader in Youth Participation and the trajectory of this group continues to soar. The young people in Youth Voices are an absolute credit to LSCft and our wider partners and they are a shining example of the success of youth participation.

Naomi Hardman Child and Young Person Engagement Facilitator


To discuss this report, or Youth Voices’ work, in more detail, please email:



Youth Voices’ structure consists of young people, who act as ‘members’, aged between 13 and 25 years old. These members can apply to be part of Youth Voices at any time, by getting in touch with the group’s leadership members. Since our last annual report, published in June 2021, we have seen a consistent growth in group membership and also retention and continued active participation of our members.

Currently, Youth Voices has nineteen members – which consists of:

  • 12 young people
  • One Mental Health Ambassador from Walton-Le-Dale High School
  • Five LSCft staff members
  • One Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust staff member

From this structure, Youth Voices has two leadership roles:

  1. Naomi Hardman - LSCft Child and Young Person Engagement Facilitator
  2. The Elected Chairperson (the young leader)


Ben, representing Youth Voices at the 'HoPE' conference, London (April 2023)
Ben, representing Youth
Voices at the 'HoPE'
conference, London
(April 2023).

The elected chairperson, who is supported by the Child and Young Person Engagement Facilitator, holds several key responsibilities. Some of these include group organisation (such as agenda writing), maintaining communication with group members and external organisations, and taking a lead on Youth Voices’ social media pages (notably Twitter and Instagram).

The chairperson role runs for twelve months, from June to June, with elections taking place prior to our June full group meeting. This year, elections took place during April and May – with the new chairperson announced during our June main meeting.

Ben Wilson-Mayor was elected as our chairperson for 2023/24, meaning that he will continue in the post. Ben has led Youth Voices since it began in June 2021, and will continue to develop the group and increase its membership and scope of work. In LSCft’s 2022 ‘Time to Shine’ awards, Ben was awarded the ‘Service User and Carer Experience in Award’ for his work within Youth Voices.


Meeting structure

Over the past twelve months, Youth Voices have met monthly via Microsoft Teams. We find that conducting our meetings online gives our members greater flexibility to join in the places that works best for them. We have also continued to run our ‘working groups’, which meet fortnightly. These smaller groups allow our members to engage more closely on certain projects, which have great value to themselves. Our working groups were developed in response to increased demand of Youth Voices’ work, both internally and externally to the trust. Due to the success of these groups, we are planning to continue to operate this method of operation in the future.


We predict that membership levels will continue to grow, as members can choose to join the group at any point. Our recruitment efforts are focussed across multiple pathways, including through social media posts, physical and digital posters (including the use of QR codes), and through word of mouth. We continue to hold discussions with other leading national participation groups, to engage in shared learnings, explore additional recruitment methods, and to work collaboratively with further projects. These discussions continue to lead to many positive opportunities for the group, increasing our outreach and shaping the way that Youth Voices continues its growth trajectory.

Our aims

As part of our initial commitment, we continue our work in improving young people’s service quality and provision offered by LSCft. We aim to ensure that young people, of all backgrounds, who have engaged in LSCft services and have not, can share their experiences and have a chance to improve services for all children and young people. We involve our members in a variety of work, from reviewing healthcare material, suggesting improvements to services, and developing new resources.

Sitting alongside the Service User and Carer Council (SUCC), our work sits within multiple of LSCft’s strategic priorities, in particular objective 1. This states, “we will put service users at the heart of all we do, supporting effective care, recovery and wellbeing”. Our focus is to ensure that young people take the lead and that their voices are heard and valued to influence positive trust-wide improvements. Youth Voices aims to be viewed by the trust and outer organisations as partners. It is important to Youth Voices that a supportive environment is maintained to allow young people to share their thoughts without criticism and feel confident to challenge views. We see ourselves as a megaphone, to allow young people to have their voices heard throughout LSCft.

We have also taken the time to further develop our external links, outside of LSCft, of which to name a few:

  • North West Children’s Cancer Operational Delivery Network
  • Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust
  • Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen
  • Healthwatch Lancashire
  • Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board / Healthier LSC
  • Wotwududo
  • Lancashire County Council
  • North West IAPT Participation Network
  • Cumbria County Council
  • AQUA (Advancing Quality Alliance)
  • The Education Policy Institute
  • Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
  • Manchester University Foundation Trust
  • Youth Endowment Fund
  • Warwick University
  • Cardiff University
  • Drop Zone Youth Projects
  • Active Lancashire

Since our last annual report, we have worked to improve the accessibility of our group. All our resources, including our agenda and minutes, are now additionally sent in an ‘easy read’ format. This provides our members who have additional needs the adaptations that they require to fully engage in the group. We will also continue to implement further accessibility improvements for our members depending on their needs.

Feedback from end of 2022 survey

"Youth Voices allows young people to put their viewpoints and experiences into action, making positive improvements across LSCft."

End of 2022 survey response from a member of Youth Voices.

"We meet regularly so we can provide the appropriate support to those who request us."

End of 2022 survey response from a member of Youth Voices.

"The range and scope of activity is impressive. The fact that the group is open to new members and is so welcoming in sharing good practice and ideas is amazing."

End of 2022 survey response from a member of Youth Voices.

Our projects

Over the past twelve months, Youth Voices have been involved in a wide variety of work. In addition, we have continued to form a strong background for the group (including through internal Trust networking and organisation of group operations).

Within the last year, some of our notable work has included:

  • Social media events to tackle positive wellbeing and provide signposting to LSCft services, such as our ‘August challenge’, ‘12 Days of Christmas’, and the ‘January Blues’.
  • Creating video content to act as an introduction to the group.
  • A continued recruitment drive – including the use of multiple Youth Voices' branded posters that have been distributed throughout the Trust.
  • We have continued working in collaboration with Warwick University, Cardiff University, UKCRC CTU Network, The Youth Endowment Fund, and LSCft’s research team – to review the resources proposed for the Trust’s new solutions trial. Youth Voices work on this trial has led to the trial being awarded a favourable ethical opinion from an NHS Research Ethics Committee.
  • Our members have also been fundamental establishment of a new service user forum for the Eating Disorder Service.
  • Various networking and promotion opportunities, to share the work of Youth Voices both internally and externally to LSCft.
  • Members have been given the opportunity to work on developing LSCft’s Community Mental Health Programme.
  • We have worked with AQUA (Advancing Quality Alliance) with their work to map self-harm services within West Lancashire.
  • We have offered all our members the opportunity to complete eight hours of quality improvement training, delivered by AQUA and LSCft’s Continuous Improvement Team.
  • We have completed a ‘Think-tank’ activity to discuss some key areas in which we would like to focus our work on. Particularly: male mental health, sexual health resources, transition and signposting, and mental health conditions and side effects,
  • We have also connected with the team at Healthwatch Lancashire, providing the opportunity for our members to be involved with their new YouthWatch programme.

Future expectations

Following on a successful two-year period, since Youth Voices’ establishment, we expect our growth trajectory to continue to grow positively. Over the next twelve months, we expect to work on further projects and implement our Youth Voices Strategy Report. We will continue to work closely with LSCft Services, local and national organisations to increase the scope of projects Youth Voices is involved with. We are already significantly increasing the scope of our work, by working on several new projects, and increasing the exposure of Youth Voices.

We are also continuing with our rolling recruitment drive, to fulfil our view to ensure that children and young people of all backgrounds can share their experiences and improve health services for all.

We are also planning to strengthen the links that our individual members make with other teams within LSCft (and beyond). So far, this has included two of our members being pivotal in forming a new ‘Experts by Experience’ service user forum – within the Eating Disorder Service. In addition, several of our members are going to work with the ‘Community Mental Health programme’ team – to help with its formation.

Finally, later in 2023 will see Youth Voices introduce a ‘Deputy Chairperson’ role. This role will be an opportunity for one of our members to assist the chairperson with their role, and further improve the overall group leadership, whilst also gaining key skills for their personal and professional development. This role will be carefully formed, by the Child and Young Person Facilitator and our current chairperson, to ensure that it presents the best skill development available for the elected member.

Keep in touch:

Twitter @youthvoiceslsc

Instagram @youthvoiceslsc


Prepared by Ben Wilson-Mayor and Naomi Hardman.

(All figures correct as of 21 April 2023)