Skip to content

Youth Engagement at St Basils - Youth Voice

Here at St Basils, we have multifaceted engagement services to ensure young people are co-authors in their preferred future at an individual and a collective level.

Youth Voice is made up of young people aged 16-25 that have experienced homelessness, sharing their experiences to support and bring about change in the UK.

Collectively, our Engagement services are called ‘Youth Voice’. This includes internally our Resident Rep Programme, Youth Advisory Board, Board of Directors, and Recruitment Youth Panels. Read below for a description of the full young people- lead initiatives we encourage at St Basils.

Be one of the first listeners to our new Youth Voice podcast, on either Spotify or Apple Podcasts!

Youth Advisory Board

The Youth Advisory Board consists of 15 young people from across all of St Basils services. Diverse, dynamic, and creative young people are referred throughout St Basils who are passionate about shaping services within St Basils.

The YAB is representative of all areas within St Basils- Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire, Worcestershire to ensure that we are representing views across St Basils. The YAB has opted to meet monthly over Zoom, allowing them to be flexible. They are also involved in a bi-annual team-building activity to work together and learn new skills, such as activity centres which provide activities such as ziplining and climbing.

The YAB are in charge of managing their budgets, which involves access to a digital package- phone, laptop and internet access, so that there are no hurdles to stop them from contributing to our services. The YAB devised a Code of conduct which is to be followed, including our 12 Youth standards. The YAB offer a Youth Perspective to Senior Management and our Board of Directors based on their lived experience and recommendations.


“Being part of the Youth Advisory Board has not only helped my voice to be heard in a safe and friendly environment, but it has helped me gain confidence and skills that I can use in my everyday life and also in my a professional life later down the line. Along my YAB journey, I have met some amazing people who inspire me to want to do as much to help change things for the positive, which is what we achieve on YAB.” – Abbey, YAB Chair 

Resident Rep Programme

Throughout St Basils, every service has a Resident Representative- a young person living at the service who acts as the allocated voice between young people and staff.

The Resident Representative is role is voluntary, and they are elected by their peers to advocate for other young people, raising issues, concerns, giving feedback on how things can be improved.

This ensures that each young person throughout our services has the opportunity to get involved and have a say in their support. Engagement is important for our young people, and Representatives will hold resident meetings monthly through the projects.

The Resident Representative has a slot within services weekly team meetings.

Board of Directors

The St Basils Board of Directors includes 2 co-opted young people, who have experience of using St Basils services. They offer the experience of receiving services from a youth perspective, and help to keep the board accountable and young-person focused. A young person who has gone through the Youth Advisory Board may apply for the Board at any point, and is co-opted by other members of the board.

Recruitment Youth Panels

Designed in 2022, the Recruitment Youth Panels exist to give a youth perspective on hiring practices, and ensure young people have a say on staff within the organisation, from Progression Coaches to Upper Management.

The process is an online interview with the hiring manager and team, followed by a shortlist of 6 people, then finally down to 3 candidates, who then sit an online interview with a young person.

Each young person is given training in interview techniques, including a 2-3 hour training session which involves learning skills such as professionalism, confidentiality, diversity training, and a non-judgemental attitude. This may also give a young person a unique perspective into the job interview process and help them in their own interviews in future.

The feedback is then given to the hiring manager who will take the young person’s feedback into their consideration when making their final decision.

This ensures we have the best quality staff working at St Basils, who are truly young person- centred.

National Research / Policy Consultation

St Basils is a leader within National Research and Policy consultation. For 12 years we have been the number one leader within youth homelessness, informing policy based on lived experience directly from our young people. We have been involved in many consultations and research projects, including just recently, NHS Integrated Care Systems for Care Leavers Review, and work with high level universities, such as Loughborough University on the Cost of Living Crisis and how it affects young people and increases the risk of homelessness.

The Youth Voice programme ensures that each young person has a voice to not only shape St Basils, but to influence change in policy and increase awareness in systems of social care.

Time to Talk Sessions

Time to Talk sessions act as an opportunity for St Basils management, staff and young people alike to work together to ensure that the 12 Youth Standards are being met. This involves an annual review of the standards per service, in which this year, over 160 young people took part to feedback on each standard, and whether they were being met by the service. The feedback is then presented companywide through a traffic light system- green, cannot be improved, amber, improvements can be made, and red – in urgent need of improvement.

St Basils Youth Standards

St Basils youth engagement team, ‘Youth Voice’, held a series of virtual consultations with young residents during the pandemic to identify the positives to keep after Covid, based on young people’s experience, following adaptations that we had to make to our services to keep them running, such as having to run workshops or support sessions online or over the phone.

These consultations showed the differences that sometimes exist across our 40+ services. Listening to our young people and following their recommendations, this has led to young people being given the opportunity to develop a set of 12 “youth standards” which will act as the gold standard that all St Basils services across the West Midlands must adhere to.

This means that young people coming to St Basils can expect to enjoy the same great standard of tailored support wherever they are placed.  The Standards will be visible so young people can see what they are entitled to and should experience. Regular discussions in services with young people will enable all to consider what’s working, what isn’t and what action we can take to continually improve.

The standards were formally approved by St Basils Board at their last meeting and staff consultations have been completed. Going forwards all services will be accountable for achieving the standards in partnership with young people who use their services.


“Coventry Time to Talk and Youth Standards Review sessions are essential and a great way to remind St Basils what the issues are and what’s important to us. Using green, red and amber, we can highlight what is working and what needs improvement. It’s easier to make the right decisions when you have the right values in mind, and the standards are reviewed every year to make sure it still resonates with us young people. / Hearing staff say they learnt something new or didn’t realise certain things makes the work feel much more needed and rewarding.” – Kip, YAB 

Assumptions about Engagement and Change

We have a set of assumptions about involvement and working with young people which underpin all our work including Youth Voice, the most relevant are shown below:

  • The more young people can be engaged in deciding about their own lives, their environment and their communities the more likely they are to successfully move into independence
  • When young people have tangible evidence that they can succeed and change their own world for the better they make rapid progress on their journey
  • The more young people can contribute to the running of St Basils the more effective and relevant we will become and young people will see that they can influence the world around them
  • Young people need to understand their experience both from an individual perspective (the inside) and from a collective perspective (the outside) by joining these two perspectives together young people can develop a critical analysis of the world they live in.
  • Positive social networks reduce the risk of further exclusion, increase the range of resources and skills available to a person and helps to smooth out the inevitable up and downs of growing up.
  • Services and networks that reflect a young person’s cultural and emotional world make it more likely that they will form positive relationships and find positive role models.
  • Services that are seen by others as socially valued can contribute to a young person’s sense of self-worth and promote positive change’