Our Digital Door Is Open: the VRP Asks Young People To Tell It How It Is
Between 13-27 November, the VRP launches its interactive site to engage young people in dialogue to crowdsource their concerns, thoughts and ideas about issues relating to safety and violence.
Getting young people to talk about things that really matter to them is the VRP’s mission. Through interesting discussions and exchanges, their collective voice will influence the way in which the VRP directs its work. Every young person contributing to the Dialogue site also has the chance to have their feedback presented to a range of policy and decision-makers in Merseyside’s with a view to bringing about positive change that reflects their wants and needs in their communities.
“We are using the Dialogue platform to let young people across Merseyside tell us – and each other – what they think about all sorts of issues that relate to violence,” says Susan Cowell, youth and community engagement lead, VRP. “Our first challenge, which launches on the 13th, is to ask young people about their feelings of safety.
“Our team is represented by a number of professionals from different sectors who influence the way we work but we need to add another important voice, and collectively, it is young people. What do they think about these things? How do they imagine a better, healthier lifestyle in their community? Is that something we can facilitate by sharing their thoughts with policy makers and decision-makers?”
Dialogue, the online platform, used by local government, central government departments and other organisations, provides the VRP with a transparent, engaging way to involve young people in its work. Uniquely, it also means that young people from a large geographical area – all five boroughs – can chat at the same time about the same question.
Posing relevant questions (‘challenges’), young people can tell the VRP what they think and feel about it from behind their mobiles, laptops or tablets – especially practical in lockdown times. It’s not just the VRP, which is set to benefit.
“Youth providers can get in on the act, too,” says Susan. “Free sessions on Eventbrite will explain how they can use the VRP’s interactive site to generate insightful feedback and ideas for their own organisations too.”
“We have invested in a year-long trial with Dialogue to see what we can achieve with our ambitions to learn more about young people’s hopes, visions and even fears when it comes to issues of violence or safety. Importantly, we need to learn how the VRP can facilitate change or influence on the back of that dialogue to make the conversation meaningful for the young people who get involved,” says Detective Supt Andy Ryan who leads Merseyside VRP.
Anyone working with young people can attend the free Eventbrite event, (attendees only need to go to one session) on various dates between 9-19 November. Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/online/youth-dialogue-briefing/
Merseyside VRP’s Dialogue site is: https://merseysidevrp.dialogue-app.com/
Tori Hywel-Davies, Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership (MVRP) firstname.lastname@example.org / 0151 777 8095