Participation and Engagement

Sunderland Youth Voice logo

Our vision

The vision of the participation and engagement team is that all children, young people and their families have the opportunity to actively participate in the decisions that affect their lives, in the delivery of the services they receive and in the development of the policies that impact on them.

Our standards

To embed participatory practice within Together for Children, we have developed our participation and engagement standards. We will adopt these to ensure that participation is encouraged, supported and celebrated, and is fully accessible and inclusive.

We will:

  • Ensure children and young people have an equal opportunity to participate, should they choose to
  • Ensure a child friendly and enabling environment where participation is relevant and voluntary
  • Work to support those who face the greatest barriers including those children and young people with a disability and within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups
  • Ensure children and young people have the opportunity to participate in an age appropriate way
  • Ensure participation leads to positive outcomes that are agreed with and communicated to children and young people
  • Seek to actively involve children and young people, rather than simply consult, ensuring follow-up and evaluation
  • Ensure participation promotes the safety and protection of children and young people
  • Value all children and young people and promote their successes

Our participation and engagement groups

Sunderland Youth Council (SYC) 

Formerly Sunderland Youth Parliament, a group of young people aged 11-19 (up to 25 with LDD) that aim to represent the voices of young people in Sunderland, working to make change on specific issues voted for by young people.

SYC is responsible for hosting the Young People's State of the City Debate that takes place in November each year. The group meets weekly on Wednesday evenings from 4.30am to 6.30pm. Check out the SYC leaflet in our downloads section below for more info.

Change Council

Young people aged 10 to 15 and 16+ who are currently cared for or care experienced, representing the voices of children and young people who are cared for and care experienced. Change Council meet every Wednesday evening between 5pm to 7pm at a TfC venue. 

If you are a cared for or care experienced young person and would like to join Change Council – or if you have any questions or want some more information – please contact Nikki Donaldson, Participation and Engagement Officer, at out more about Change Council.


A group of young people aged 13 to 18 who identify as LGBTQ+ or are questioning their sexuality and/or gender. The group campaign on issues relevant to them and help shape services across the city. They meet fortnightly on a Thursday evening in the city centre.

If you would like further information or would like to join the group please contact the RSHE team at

SEND Voice

A group of young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) aged 12 to 25 that represent the voices of young people with SEND.

Young Inspectors and Commissioners

A programme that trains young people aged 11-19 (up to 25 with LDD) to inspect services used by young people. Young people will then inspect and evaluate a variety of services used by young people.

Joint Contribution

All of our groups regularly support specific initiatives; this might be to provide feedback or help development. Examples of this include:

  • Your Mindfulness and Wellbeing Pack  full of activities that people of all ages can enjoy. These activities have been developed by experts from around Sunderland and beyond to be a fun and interactive introduction to Mindfulness.
  • In 2017, Together for Children initiated the Thriving and Coping Workstream - a group of multi-agency professionals working with Sunderland Youth Parliament to develop the Sunderland Mental Health Charter Mark.

To get involved or to find out more information about any of our groups, please get in touch:

Tel: 0191 561 7400



You can also find us on social media:

Facebook: @tfcyouthvoice

Twitter: @tfcyouthvoice 

Instagram: @tfcyouthvoice



In Participation and Engagement

  • Change Council - Sunderland’s Children in Care Council