Young Leaders of the Childfair State

Young Leaders of the Childfair State

The ChildFair State Project is a major national inquiry being run by the charity Children England. It’s about creating a vision for the future of our society to give children and young people the best possible start in life.

Through this project, children and young people from across England are being supported to research, design and campaign for the welfare state they want.
The project is looking at some big questions:

• What are the biggest issues that children and young people face today?

• What’s good or bad about support for children and young people in this country?

• How could your needs be better met? What help do young people need to really thrive?

Leaders Unlocked is working with Children England to enable a group of Young Leaders aged 13-21 to drive the project through creativity, peer research, influencing and advocating for change. To read more please see

How it Works

The project involves the following stages of work:

Recruitment: Working closely with Children England and local partners, we have recruited a team of proactive young people to become ‘Young Leaders of the Childfair State’. This group brings together a diverse cross-section of the youth population, including those with direct experience of different parts of the Welfare State and young people from under-represented groups.

Design Sessions: We are supporting the Young Leaders to explore and identify key issues with the current Welfare State, what’s working and not working for them, and what really matters to young people. The Young Leaders determine which areas are most important to focus on, and receive training in research, interview skills, facilitation and public speaking.

Peer Research: The Young Leaders have co-designed a series of tools for peer research – including an interview, online survey and workshop plan - which they are using to conduct peer research with at least 500 other young people across England. The workshops stimulate conversation and gather young people’s views and ideas for change. The interview enables more in-depth research into individuals who have specific experience of the Welfare State. The online survey enables us to reach a higher number of young people and gather more quantitative data as well as qualitative findings.

Results Day: The Young Leaders analyse the data from the peer research and extract key findings. They prepare the data ready to discuss with a range of relevant experts from a ‘sounding board’ recruited by Children England.

Final Summit: At a summit later in 2020, we’ll help the young leaders pitch their ideas to the sounding board of policy experts from a wide range of fields representing existing child-centred policy and practice. Through challenging debate and collaboration, we hope to forge common ground and help our young leaders develop a blueprint for policy change as radical as they feel it needs to be.

Get involved

We are keen to hear from youth organisations with an interest in getting involved with the peer research being conducted by the Young Leaders. Please get in touch at


This project is vitally important for everyone involved – for the young individuals who want to start shaping the state they live in and become its future leaders; for the professionals who will hear what children want from their schools, hospitals, streets and housing developments; and for the welfare state, which desperately needs a new direction.


"The work of Leaders Unlocked and the Youth Panel is really embedded in our organisation now. There is a lot of trust and respect for them and we don’t shy away from bringing them into difficult situations. This is testament to the methodology, the diversity of the panel and the process they go through, which means they function to a really high level."