London Youth Involvement Project gains certificate of recognition from the European Drug Prevention Prize
Back in March 2012, we entered our London Youth Involvement Project into the Pompidou Group’s European Drug Prevention Prize. We were one of 83 entrants from across Europe. We are delighted to announce that the LYIP was shortlisted as a “remarkable project [...] full of promise” and, in October 2012, received a certificate of recognition for innovative work in drug prevention with the active involvement of youth.
The prize specifically recognises drug prevention projects which involve young people. One of the aspects of the LYIP that we are most proud of is the fact that it champions young people’s participation so extensively. In fact, it is often only by entering these types of competition that the extent of participation becomes clear even to those most closely involved. The prize required that projects, “fully involve young people, either in the development and implementation of activities, the decision-making, the project management and/or the evaluation.” Without a moment’s thought, we are able to tick every one of these criteria.
When the project was first launched, we had little idea what its content would be, beyond the fact that it would focus on drug prevention. This wasn’t because we, at Mentor, hadn’t thought the project through. Instead, we were determined that it would be young people themselves who would be the project’s chief decision-makers, determining its content, designing its key materials and taking a lead in disseminating its findings. We even have our young people fully involved in its evaluation. The LYIP’s success as a genuine participation project is perhaps best summed up – as it always will be – by one of our Youth Advisors:
“I’ve been in a lot of projects and it’s more hands on [in the LYIP], like with other adults it’s about 60/40 to the adults but here it’s about 80/20 to the children and here they just help us with the stuff and we get to do the rest which is pretty cool.”
We firmly believe that the research being carried out by our young people is truly persuasive and has the potential to support other prevention research in affecting change. The passion of our Youth Advisors is matched by real insight, a desire to build their knowledge base and a determination to discover what other young people across London have experienced, believe in and hope for. They have already completed research into the extent and content of London schools’ drug education and are moving forward with research into the roles parents and the police play in prevention.
It is fantastic to receive recognition for this work. Amy, a Youth Advisor with the LYIP, reflects on the value that it brings to her and her colleagues:
“It’s a great honour and privilege to be recognised by the EU for our great work and it really shows how much we’ve done and how it’s value.”
The LYIP is always an exciting place to be and I am in full agreement with the Pompidou Group that it is, indeed, a “remarkable project”.