Amplified Trailblazers

Between 2017-2019, Amplified selected and supported twelve Trailblazers to develop participation within their organisations.

What are Trailblazers?

Participation Trailblazers were cohorts of 12 organisations selected from across the children and young people’s mental health system, including CAMHS, primary care settings, CCGs, Local Authorities and schools.

They were supported to develop a specific element of participation in their organisations over 6 months, sharing their learning with each other as they went.

Resources and case studies developed as a result of this work can be found below. Learning from the projects is being collected into toolkits which will soon be available on the Amplified Resources page. 

Trailblazers 2017

In 2017, the theme of the Trailblazers project was:

Increasing the participation of groups experiencing extra vulnerabilities

Organisations were selected from across the country to receive support and the groups they wanted to engage with included:

  • Young people with learning disabilities
  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME)
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning (LGBTQ+)
  • Young people with autism
  • Young men

Organisations were supported to develop specific elements of their participation work, sharing their learning with each other as they improved their engagement activities.

From the many applications we received, the following organisations were selected to be Trailblazers in 2017:

  • Healthy London Partnership

    Healthy London Partnership wanted to use participation to strengthen the health pathway within the Youth Justice System, in collaboration with Peer Power and the London NHS Health in Justice Commissioners.

    They produced the Getting It Right report which set out a youth-led vision for what a redesigned Liaison and Diversion Services should look like.

    Read the Getting It Right report

  • Swindon, Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset CAMHS (Oxford Health)

    Oxford Health wanted to explore the needs of young men in relation to mental health, identifying ways to encourage help seeking behaviour, challenging stigma and gender specific barriers to accessing services and providing targeted support and resources.

    They were already in the process of developing a film called Boys in Mind which explored what men would say to their younger selves about mental health. They used their Trailblazer support to produce a complimentary session plan to be used by professionals to better understand young men’s mental health and their participation in their care and mental health services.

    Watch the Boys in Mind film and read the report

  • Devon CAMHS

    Devon CAMHS wanted to increase the diversity of their Young People's Advisory groups by reaching out to young people who identify as belonging to the LGBT+ community to encourage their active involvement in participation.

    As part of their Trailblazer support, staff and young people co-produced a digital insights survey to collect data on LGBT+ experience of the mental health system. They took part in a creative workshop to identify the changes required in the local system and co-designed and delivered a workshop on ‘how to communicate more effectively with LGBT+ young people’, as part of CAMHS workers’ regional conference. They also evaluated the impact of their work to plan the next steps for improving access to the system for LGBT+ young people in the region.

    Read the Power Pack and the case study

  • Central Manchester University Hospital Foundation Trust

    Central Manchester University Hospital Foundation Trust wanted to look at how they could improve access to services for young people who identify as LGBTQIA. They were already consulting with young people and parents about how they preferred to be asked about their gender and sexuality.

    They used their Trailblazer support to develop a LGBTQIA Audit with young people and parents and carers. This consisted of a set of standards for mental health services to work towards to ensure their services are LGBTQIA accessible, appropriate and friendly.

    See the LGBTQIA Audit

  • Solihul Council

    Solihul Council and Solihul Action Through Advocacy worked in partnership to pilot ways of working with young people with learning difficulties, with the aim of establishing a meaningful pathway for mental health participation.

    They used their Trailblazer support to develop resources to be used by professionals with the aim of introducing the concept of mental health to young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND). Two sessions were developed: ‘Introduction to Mental Health’ and ‘What We Need from Services’.

    See the session plans and case study


  • Rollercoaster Parent Support (Success NE)

    Rollercoaster Parent Support (@RollercoasterPS) was a project started three years ago by a local parent, Wendy Minhinnett. Now an award-winning project working with parents and families across the region, its focus has grown to a community-based peer support model, delivered in partnership with CAMHS.

    Rollercoater Parent Support used their Trailblazer support to create a Theory of Change for the project and formalise the use of Parent Peer Mentors within the organisation by developing induction training for the role.

    Read the Power Pack

  • Routeways

    Routeways are a Plymouth based local charity that supports children, young people, families and individuals to overcome disadvantage. The focus of their Trailblazer project was supporting families of children with autism.

    They used their support time to co-produce a resource for parents and professionals. It contained top tips to help young people to participate in their journey through their diagnosis and beyond.

    Read the Power Pack and the case study

  • Cumbria Multi-Agency Children and Young People's Emotional Health and Wellbeing Partnership

    Cumbria Multi-Agency Children and Young People's Emotional Health and Wellbeing Partnership had a number of participation groups operating but they wanted to being these together to work strategically on their Local Transformation Plan.

    They also wanted to improve the transition to adult mental health services for young people leaving care, as this group does not always receive a supportive and effective transfer between services. Alongside their Care Leavers forums they produced a leaflet to support this process.

    See the resource and read the case study

  • Royal Borough of Greenwich Children's Services

    Royal Greenwich Children's Services developed a Young Ambassadors Mental Health network to help the organisation shape mental health and wellbeing services across the borough. This included; challenging stigma around mental health, developing understanding of how to maintain good mental health, increasing awareness of the support available to children and young people and ensuring more children and young people felt supported.

    The network created a social media campaign #youmattergreenwich

    Read the case study

  • Warwickshire County Council

    Warwickshire CAMHS were retendered based on a co-produced outcomes framework, developed with young people, parents and carers, as well as professionals. The Trailblazer project aimed to establish processes and a means by which young people would be engaged in the ongoing contract. This involved monitoring and management of the service and included supporting the recruitment and training of young people to play a meaningful and insightful role.

    The project was unfinished at the end of the 2017 Trailblazer year so the work continued into 2018. 

  • Hope and Horizon Units, Tier 4 CAMHS

    Hope and Horizon Tier 4 (inpatient) units were setting up a Youth and
    Parents’ Participation Council, made up of young people who had left the ward and their parents with the aim of creating more long term opportunities for participation.

    The wards was aware that Ward Rounds and CPA Meetings can often be experienced as intimidating and confusing by young people and families. They wanted to use their Trailblazer support to work with the Participation Council to make these processes more useful and accessible for young people, parents and professionals.

  • North Tyneside Council - Participation and Advocacy Team

    North Tyneside Council Participation and Advocacy Team wanted to explore the topic of mental health support for children in care, alongside members of the Children in Care Council. Young people had highlighted that more support is needed earlier to prevent people getting to crisis point. The council wanted to work alongside them to produce recommendations for how to increase the participation of Looked After Children accessing services in the future. 

Trailblazers 2018

The topic our 2018 Trailblazers focused on was:

Evaluating the Impact of Participation in our organisations. 

Applications were made in one of the following themes:

  • Designing and Testing your own Participation Evaluation Framework
  • Establishing Parent and Carer Participation Structures and Measuring Impact
  • Health and Justice Settings

We received more than 40 viable applications and standards were extremely high. We shortlisted the projects with our Amplified Youth and Parent Advisors to shortlist the projects, and offered support to the following organisations:

  • Rotherham CAMHS

    Rotherham CAMHS applied to Amplified with the aim of developing an evaluation plan. As part of this work they decided to co-create their own outcome measures to assess the experience of young people attending their CAMHS service.They did this through insights workshops attended by young people involved in their services. 

    Participants were encouraged to think about the ideal user journey for different personas who might need support from CAMHS. At each stage in the journey they thought about how young people might feel, what questions they might have, what would make things better and who could be helpful to them.

    These ideas were then turned into ‘I’ statements to be used as criteria in an outcome measure. In the future, young people who attend CAMHS will use this to rate their experience of the service.

    Read more about Co-designing Outcome Measures at Rotherham CAMHS

  • Derby CAMHS

    Derby CAMHS showed a commitment to participation but recognised that their parent and carer participation structures were less developed than those for children and young people. They applied to be a Trailblazer with the aim of changing this. 

    Using their Trailblazer support, Derby CAMHS reviewed the participation work they had previously done to explore what worked well and how they could improve. They created a participation pledge and held a workshop attended by professionals, parent advisors and experts by experience. At the workshop individuals and teams developed commitments around increasing participation within the service. 

    Read the case study

  • Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

    Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust applied to be a Trailblazer to improve their parent and carer participation. They undertook a series of activities to get a better understanding of what they were doing well and where they could improve. They audited their current participation activities, consulted with staff and ran listening events with parents and carers. Responses were then collated to create 10 recommendations which were then submitted to senior leadership to implement.

    Read the case study

  • CME in The Community

    CME in the Community and North West CYP IAPT had been working together to improve participation but had identified that providers were finding parent and carer involvement challenging. They applied to be a Trailblazer with the aim of building parent and carer participation structures across services in the area.

    The network started by mapping out existing parent and carer participation in the organisation and identifying areas of good practice, as well as areas where there was room for improvement. They ran an insights session for parents and carers to hear their experiences of accessing help for their child. These insights were then used to create a training course designed to be co-delivered by parents and carers to participation leads in the area.

  • Kent County Council

    Kent Country Council applied to be a Trailblazer in conjunction with HeadStart Kent. Although a variety of participation activities were taking place, as an organisation they realised that they were missing the opportunity to evidence the impact of their work.

    Amplified ran a series of workshops and as a result Kent County Council created a parent and carer engagement strategy. This included creating an evaluation plan of participation objectives and outcomes, indicators and ways of measuring these. HeadStart Kent created an evaluation toolkit which contained suggested tools for evaluating the impact of an organisations participation activities on three levels: young people, the organisation and on commissioning.

  • East Midlands Community Forensic CAMHS

    East Midlands Community FCAMHS applied to be a Trailblazer as a new service. They wanted to make sure they had participation embedded early on to consider how it could best be used to improve the service and the experience of young people.

    With their Trailblazer support, they decided to create a tool that would allow participation to be built into the service’s general approach rather than added on to the end of an assessment of session with a young person. This would be similar to a mental health passport and would allow the young person to take the information with them along their journey.

    The tool, called 'This is Me' was produced in consultation with young people who decided what was helpful to include and what they liked and didn't like about other, similar tools.

    See the This is Me tool and read the case study

  • Camden Youth Offending Service

    For their Trailblazer project, Camden Youth Offending Service (YOS) wanted to design and test an evaluation framework for their participation work. Professionals and young people from the organisation discussed the value of evaluating participation and how to measure the activities that were happening within the service.

    Together, they co-created a vision and set of values and goals for participation. This contributed to the development of an evaluation framework which was presented to the Youth Board and is now being implemented.

    Read the case study

  • Weston College

    Weston College applied to be a Trailblazer after launching a new mental health support service for students. Staff knew that students found the service helpful but they wanted to develop an evaluation plan to measure the impact it was having.

    With their Amplified support, professionals and students developed an overall goal for mental health culture within the college and broke this down into three outcomes which would support their aim. They then looked at how they would measure that progress was being made towards these aims and selected tools to measure the impact that their activities were having.

    Read the case study

  • Swanwick Lodge Secure Children’s Home

    Swanwick Lodge provides support and care for up to sixteen young people aged 10-17, who have complex needs and present a significant risk of harm to themselves or to others.

    For their Trailblazer project, they wanted to develop a participation strategy to enable young people staying there to be more actively involved in their care. The service co-developed a participation improvement plan alongside a young person who had used the service in the past, and created values for participation.

    Read the case study

  • City & Hackney CAMHS Alliance

    City and Hackney applied to Amplified with the aim of gathering parents’ insights and views on how they could improve CAMHS services. This included establishing how best to engage parents from a wide range of backgrounds in transforming their services.

    Over a series of workshops, carers, parents and professionals discussed the value of participation and devised an action plan for participation for the coming year. At the workshop, carers and parents told facilitators that they wanted more resources available to them and offered to co-produce these.

    From the insights gathered at the workshop, a participation plan was developed.

  • Nottingham City Council Targeted CAMHS

    Nottingham City Council Targeted CAMHS applied to be Trailblazer to develop their Targeted CAMHS service in a way which helps young people and parents/carers have a voice about the kind of support they want and how they want it.

    They created a parent and carer feedback survey to gain insight into their experiences. Amplified also ran an workshop exploring how participation could help service improvement. Part of this included a joint discussion with young people which created lot of ideas and feedback about how the journey through CAMHS could be improved.

  • Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

    Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust already had a young person's council which provided opportunities for participation in service design and improvement projects. It was this group who identified the need for a similar structure to facilitate parent and carer participation. 

    The organisation applied to the Trailblazer project with the goal of establishing carer and parent participation structures. Once these groups were established, they wanted to measure their impact.

  • Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG

    Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG applied to be a Trailblazer to develop an evaluation plan to monitor their recently developed participation strategy and ensure that participation is embedded in the culture of the organisation. 

    They used their Trailblazer support to run a series of workshops around the theme of co-design. The workshops involved creating participation principles and outcome measures as well as setting goals for how they want to change their services and how to ensure young people have more of a say in their healthcare.

group teen 40 opt
Back To Top