At Brook, we are absolutely committed to young people's participation, ensuring that we provide opportunities for active involvement in our development as an organisation, our services and our projects.

Through funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we have been enabled to start the process of embedding a culture of participation across the organisation.

What participation means to Brook

Brook will ensure an active and meaningful partnership through the participation of young people, based on choice, shared decision-making and respect. Brook believes that participation is a process through which young people can be heard, influence decisions and, importantly, effect real change. Participation is underpinned by Brook’s values.

Our commitment

We have made a commitment to ensure that young people are provided with opportunities to influence change at all levels of the organisation, and influence policy and practice on sexual health, both internally and externally. Here are some examples of young people’s participation at Brook:

  • Recruitment and selection: young people are provided with training and support to be actively involved in recruitment and selection at Brook, including being part of recruitment panels and making decisions about who Brook employs. A change was made to our recruitment policy as a result of young people presenting their findings to the Board of Trustees
  • Our Board of Trustees: we have two places on our Board which are ringfenced for young people. This is the highest level of decision making within the organisation and an extremely important role. We provide a workshop as part of our national participation group to enable young people to gain skills and knowledge needed to apply for Trustee positions.
  • P+ groups: young people told us that they wanted an effective mechanism to ensure that young people’s voices are heard and recognised. Young people themselves designed this mechanism, which they called P+, and it is in the process of being rolled out across the organisation. Local participation groups meet regularly to discuss issues that are important to them regarding service development and delivery, create their own projects, and be involved in decision making. The local P+ groups then send representatives to national P+ meetings, and the findings of these meetings are presented directly to the Board of Trustees.
  • Social Action Projects: through Brook’s partnership arrangement with the O2 Think Big Foundation, we are able to offer young people the opportunity to plan and deliver their own social action projects about the issues they are most passionate about, linked to our Sex:Positive campaign, creating community events, education and outreach programmes, resources, leaflets, posters, podcasts, short films and t-shirts on a range of issues including anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia, bullying, gender equality, sexual health myth busting, and reproductive rights.
  • Lobbying and campaigning: young people are provided with opportunities to influence policy on sexual health, which has included producing young people led responses to various Government inquiries, meeting MPs, London Assembly members and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.
  • Mystery shoppers: young people ‘mystery shop’ our services and tell us what needs to change in order for our services to be even better for young people. Everyone has the opportunity to tell us what they think and see how their views and opinions impact on the services they received via our “You said… We did…” display boards in each service.

Participation video

Find out how to get involved...

We work in partnership with young people and enable them to make positive contributions to Brook, supporting us to ensure that we are Bigger, Bolder, Better!

If you would like to find out more about participation at Brook, please contact our Participation Lead on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Influencing external policy and practice on sexual health

One of our young volunteers attended the NHS England AGM, and gave constructive feedback about how organisations can better support young people's meaningful involvement in external meetings. Read our report to find out about the challenges that young people face, and a solution focused approach to progress on young people's participation. In November 2013, four young volunteers from Brook took part in NHS England Takeover Day - read about the event and their feedback here.

Sharing good practice on participation

There is some fantastic work going on across Brook around young people’s participation. To help us celebrate these successes and share learning, here are some examples of good practice processes and outcomes, where young people have positively engaged with influencing service development and delivery across the organisation. 

Good practice in participation case study - Brook London and SE

Good practice in participation case study - West Midlands and Walsall primary school pilot

Good practice in participation case study - Mystery shopping at Brook Wirral

Good practice in participation case study - LGBT group facilitation


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