Rights and Participation

It is our mission to ensure that the voice of young people is heard, ensuring they know their rights and the choices available to them.

Involving children and young people in the decision-making process can profoundly affect their lives, their views should influence any decisions that are made about them. Anyone working with children should see and speak to the child; listen to what they say, take their views seriously; and work with them and their families collaboratively when deciding how to support their needs.

Cumbria County Council has developed a Participation Framework to support you to do this. Cumbria Participation Framework (PDF 8MB)

For more information about the participation framework or the Rights and Participation Service contact Susan Hodkin susan.hodkin@cumbria.gov.uk.

Your voice matters - YC promotion (PDF 6MB)

Who are the Youth Councils?

Cumbria has 3 Youth Councils covering Carlisle and Eden, Allerdale and Copeland and Barrow and South Lakes. They are made up of young people aged 11 to 18.  They share ideas and opinions with councillors and managers at Cumbria County Council and its partners. They discuss and campaign for change on issues important to young people. 

Examples of issues discussed include:

  • climate change
  • mental health and bullying
  • public transport (for example, bus fares)
  • Anti-social behaviour 

When and Where are they?

There are around 8 meetings a year in each area and across the county, most of which are now virtual discussions on MS Teams with guest speakers.

There is no cost other than your time, although parents and carers are expected to support with travel. 

How do I get in touch? 

If you have further questions, please email:

Carlisle and Eden: Chris.Barry@cumbria.gov.uk

Allerdale and Copeland: anna.todd@cumbria.gov.uk

Barrow and South Lakes: lynne.murray@cumbria.gov.uk

West Cumbria participation update 1 (PDF 264KB)

West Cumbria participation update 2 (PDF 262KB)

West Cumbria Youth Council investigates uniformed youth services in Allerdale (PDF 820KB)

Survey results on the effects of Covid on young people (PDF 760KB)

Eden Youth Council created a video in Summer 2021, after numerous young people had repeatedly said they were very concerned about their Mental health. They were concerned about the level of support and treatment local young people were receiving and asked decision makers to make support services more convenient. 

Watch pupils from Netherhall school interviewing Maryport Veterans and the importance of Remembrance Day. This is now a school resource for anyone who wishes to use it. 

What are Young Inspectors? 

Young inspectors are young people who inspect services delivered to children and young people, providing advice and recommendations on how those services can improve.

What do they do? 

Our Young inspectors inspect council and partner services, to make sure they are doing a good job and delivering high quality services to our young people. They use a range of different methods to do this, including interviewing staff, speaking to the young people using the services, and investigating processes or websites to see if they are 'young person friendly. 

Who can be a Young Inspector? 

The role is open to all young people aged between 11 and 19, and up to 25 years old for those with special educational needs and disabilities. You do not have to take part in every inspection and will be offered the opportunity to choose based upon your interest, personal experience, and availability.

Young Inspector Information and Application form for young people and organisations (PDF 571KB)

Cumbria fire and Rescue Service Holiday Activity and Food programme inspection (PDF 2.2MB)

Sunbeams Music Trust Holiday Activity and Food programme inspection (PDF 3.8MB)

Wellness at Green Acres Holiday Activity and Food programme inspection (PDF 4.6MB)

Elspeth Dennison (previous Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Allerdale and Copeland) gives a good account of what it is like to be an MYP, describing some of the projects and achievements she made in the role. 

Elspeth Dennison MYP - statement (PDF 376KB)

Cumbria's Members of Youth Parliament at Parliament week

Reece Hammond, Elspeth Dennison and Elizabeth Coulthard at the House of Commons

Carlisle and Eden MYP Jacob Reid speaking at the House of Commons