Resources Hub

Voice & Influence

In Leeds, listening and responding to the voice of the child is a key behaviour that we expect from practitioners, and is central to both our restorative approach and our ambition to be a child friendly city.
Responding to the child’s voice is a duty for all staff, and Leeds has a Voice, Influence and Change team which supports services, teams and organisations across Leeds to involve children, young people and families in decision making, as well as supporting them to make meaningful contributions to youth voice programmes, campaigns and projects.
The team facilitates a range of opportunities for children and young people to influence and make changes to the services they use, including routine involvement in commissioning exercises and senior leader recruitment, as well as ensuring there is a two-way dialogue between senior leaders of services and organisations and the people they serve.
There are universal participation opportunities available to all, such as the Children’s Mayor, Youth Council and participation in Youth Summits, as well as more targeted work with children and young people who are in touch with the social work service, and with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The Voice, Influence and Change team also works with parents and carers, and with services to help them develop their participation work with families.
If you would like to find out more about voice, influence and change work in Leeds, please contact [email protected].


  • In 2017; over 350 children and young people across Leeds entered the Child Friendly City Centre competition to inform Leeds City Council, businesses and partners on how Leeds city centre can be more child friendly. 10 winning ideas were chosen, and over a 12 month period Leeds City Council have worked with businesses, ambassadors, partners and young people to bring the ideas to life. Watch our short film to find out what we have done.

  • Let’s Talk event – Summary Report 2019
    If you want to read about an example of voice and influence work between parents and carers and the Children’s Social Work Service, please read the report of a recent ‘Let’s Talk’ event.

  • Making co-production work – lessons from local government
    Research commissioned by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in 2013 looked at the theory and practice around co-production, and the experiences of officers involved in this work at a range of different local authorities. Please note that this link is to an external source; any views or opinions contained within it are those of the report’s authors, and not the Leeds Relational Practice Centre.

The 12 Wishes – Children and young people find the city centre welcoming and safe, with friendly places to go, have fun and play:

Councillor Lisa Mulherin (Executive Member for Children and Families, Leeds City Council) – ‘we held a competition last year to ask children across the city what they would like to see to make Leeds City centre a better place for them to be’. 

Rumani’s Idea – Pay as you feel café. What we have done: Fun activities in Kirkgate Market, summer Child Friendly Leeds Sundays and city centre pay as you feel cafe

Rumani (Braken Edge Primary School, Leeds) – ‘The idea that I got was that I want everyone to have food whether they have a lack of money or they have a lot of money because we all need food. I think it will help a lot because it is in town if you just want a quick snack or you’re coming for a lunch which is a reasonable price, I think it’s going to affect a lot of people’. 

Leo’s Idea – 2nd Hand recycling Park. What we have done: SCRAP ran junk play on Cookridge Street. Leo met the team to help. 

Abbie’s and Opemipo’s Idea – City Centre Children’s Park. What we have done: Pop up and play – Victoria Gardens, City centre pop up parks and future plans for city centre park.

Lizzie (Headteacher, Suffolk, holiday visit to Leeds) ‘So this is our third day returning to Pop up and play. My children have absolutely loved all of the activities at the moment they are really enjoying playing with the table tennis, and they’re playing with children they have only just met today. It has just give me the impression that it is a child friendly place to be. As a parent it makes me feel that Leeds is a place that actually wants children and families to be’.

Chelsy’s Idea – Rolla Disco. What we have done: City Centre Rolla Disco, Opened by Children’s Mayor, Inclusive sessions for additional needs.

Library Games Group’s Ideas – Safety/Events/Travel. What we have done: Free WIFI, Millennium Square free children’s films, Meetings with transport providers.

Goodwin, Cameron, Joe, Samuel and Simon – Snapp App

Cameron, Godin and Joe (Abbey Grange Academy, Leeds) ‘We aim to encourage young people to explore Leeds through photography and win prizes. The top people who get the most likes on their pictures will win prizes like vouchers. It just makes the whole shopping experience more enjoyable and fun for children’. 

Will’s idea – children’s festival. What we have done: Child Friendly Leeds Live – August, Variety of fun activities for families, Will introduced Andy and the Odd Socks

Will (Tranmere Park Primary School, Guiseley, Leeds). ‘I’m going to be introducing Andy and the Odd Socks with Alex on stage, I feel very excited especially seeing CBeebies legends that I used to watch growing up. I’m hoping they will remember this day and be more happier ‘let’s give it up for Andy and the Odd Socks’’.

Ella’s Idea – Harry Potter workshop. What we have done: History of Magic exhibition, Activities and Workshops, First Direct Arena screenings, Tickets for winner and family

Jazmin’s Idea – Indoor Playhouse. What we have done: St John’s centre Indoor Playhouse, Leeds Play Network & SCRAP, Easter and Summer Holiday sessions.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin (Executive Member for Children and Families, Leeds City Council) ‘Our business partners in Leeds City Centre have been amazingly supportive. We want to make sure that the city centre is as child friendly as it can possibly be so that it is the best place for children to grow up in and so that they can enjoy their city to the full extent’.

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