The Lancaster Leapfrog team delivered an afternoon of training on using and adapting tools to a group of participation practitioners at their ‘Are We Listening’ event at CANW in Blackburn.  During the morning, CANW led a session for practitioners from a wide range of organisations and backgrounds on why listening to and involving young people in decisions that affect them is so important and how this is promoted in law, policy and guidance such as United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child where Article 12 characterises participation work. CANW believe a creative approach and the use of tools can bring real benefits when engaging with young people. The Leapfrog afternoon session was ideally placed to lead on from the mornings activity by giving practitioners the opportunity to try out and adapt tools that could be used to engage a wide range of ages. 

The team introduced the group to Leapfrog, talked about the work our group of young people recruited by CANW, including The Inspirer tool newspaper produced as a result, and shared four tools; Make It Stick, Everybody, Target Control and Storyboard Contract.

The group had the opportunity to be hands on with each of the tools and discuss together how they might adapt the tools for their own needs.  The Leapfrog team were blown away by how many ideas the group had and how quickly they became absorbed in changing the tool templates we had brought with us.  Below are three ideas for adaption for each tool but there were many more!

Ideas for Everybody included:

  • Using it as a visual questionnaire instead of boring, standard forms.
  • Asking families to use it together to identify their values.
  • Changing it so that you could move the figures around. 

Ideas for Make It Stick included

  • Making it non-​prescriptive, so that the young people can generate their own headings.
  • Young people working on content for the A4 Make It Stick in one session and then peeling it off and having another session at another date to ‘unpick’ the ideas.

Ideas for Target Control included:

  • Using it with pictures rather than words to make it more visual for younger children.
  • Flipping the circles around so that it becomes more about what you love, rather than what worries you.
  • Making it 3D

Ideas for Storyboard Contract included:

  • Creating a life story book with the storyboards as pages.
  • Breaking the board up so that it was in chapters starting with the current situation and the future situation
  • Asking young people to plan their own activities.

The participation practitioners will be sent a copy of the Inspirer tool newspaper as soon as we receive it from the printer so that they can try out their new ideas.  The Leapfrog team will be reflecting on how well this event went and looking for ways to make it even better for when we share the tools again to a larger group later this month.