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Young People with Care Experience Advisory Group - Evidence and Learning

On Tuesday 23rd November 2021, the Life Changes Trust held an online webinar celebrating the Trust’s Advisory Group for the Young People with Care Experience programme, and exploring the learning that has come from working alongside them for the past 5 years.

The purpose of this webinar was to celebrate the achievements of the Advisory Group, to share the key findings and learning from their independent evaluation by Matter of Focus, and to hear from some of the people who have been involved or impacted by the Group: Advisors, Trust staff, and awardees of funding initiatives developed by the group. We believe that an approach based authentically on co-production has shown that people with lived experience can add so much value and depth to the work of organisations like the Trust. 


At the Trust, we believe that people are experts by unique experience and that the voice of lived experience is the key to transformational change. This is why the roots of the Advisory Group go back almost to when the Trust first officially opened its doors. In 2014, we appointed 2 young advisors with care experience who participated in Trustee meetings and provided input to the development of the Programme. This early commitment to genuine co-production laid the foundations for the development of the Advisory Group, which formed in 2016. 

Our relationship with the Advisory Group influences and threads through everything that we do. The group members volunteer their time to advise the Trust, and work on specific funding projects and initiatives: assessing funding applications, advising and consulting with external stakeholders, speaking at conferences and events across the UK to share their learning and approach…

They also supported the development of Programme initiatives, such as Aspirational Awards and My Choice My Future. Their role has developed extensively since we first began this journey.

The purpose of this webinar was to celebrate the achievements of the Advisory Group, to share the key findings and learning from their independent evaluation by Matter of Focus, and to hear from some of the people who have been involved or impacted by the Group: Advisors, Trust staff, and awardees of funding initiatives developed by the group.

During the webinar we also launched ‘Side by Side’, a film developed and produced by the Advisory Group and Media Co-op. In it, some group members talk about their experiences, the impact that being part of the group has had on them, and how it has influenced the wider landscape of policy and practice. 

  • Sarah Morton and Helen Berry from Matter of Focus shared some of the key learning from their evaluation, and explored the impact of the Advisory Group and the coproduction approach taken with the Trust.
  • We also heard from Life Changes Trust staff members Catriona Kelly and Mhairi Reid, who spoke about working alongside the Advisors and shared reflections about creating a real partnership and a trusting relationship with them.
  • Ian Kenji, who is a recipient of a ‘My Choice, My Future’ award - one of the funding initiatives developed by the Advisory Group - spoke about what he did with his award, and how it has impacted his life. Group member Lydia also shared her reflections on another award recipient’s personal story.
  • To round up the event, the Advisory Group shared some ‘Top Tips for Co-Production’, based on their own experiences, and gave some very sound, practical advice about how to coproduce authentically and impactfully. 

After the conference, the Life Changes Trust put together a summary/evaluation report which includes a brief summary of the event, discussion points and the key messages that people felt were important to influence change going forward.

You can download the 'Advisory Group Learning Event' Summary & Evaluation Report here

You can watch a recording of our full webinar, or you can just watch some of the presentations, below, whatever works for you.  


You can watch the spectacular 'Side by Side' film, below


You can watch the whole webinar, below


You can watch Sarah Morton and Helen Berry talk about the evaluation, below


You can watch Mhairi Reid and Catriona Kelly reflect on their work with the Advisory Group, below


You can watch Mhairi Reid talk to Ian Kenji about his 'My Choice My Future' award, below


You can watch our advisor, Lydia, give her reflections on a 'My Choice My Future' personal story, below


You can watch our Advisory Group's 'Top Tips for Co-production' below


The Life Changes Trust would like to thank Media Co-op, Matter of Focus, Ian Kenji, Lydia, Saffron, Simone, Jack and all of our Advisory Group, past and present.