2023: A landmark year for co-production at Buttle UK

As we come towards the end of 2023, our Co-Production and Youth Engagement Manager, Charlotte Robey-Turner, reflects on what has been a pivotal year for co-production at Buttle UK. Read on to learn some of the key milestones we've achieved this year as a part of our co-production work!

By Pixie Parker · December 14, 2023

As 2023 draws to a close, I thought it was worth reflecting on Buttle UK’s most co-produced year to date!

I might start from the end of the year and go backwards, as last week was the culmination of six months’ hard work for our Investing for the Future group, and a much longer journey for Buttle UK as a whole.

On 7th December, four of the young people involved in our Investing for the Future project met with our board of trustees to discuss whether any of Buttle UK’s endowment should be invested in fossil fuels. This was a landmark moment for us and something we’ve been working towards for a long time: having young people meeting our trustees as equals, sharing their views and leading a discussion about a key topic that our board have been debating for some years.

Our young people not only did themselves proud with a detailed, balanced and well-researched presentation, they also facilitated a more open and considered discussion of the arguments on both sides of the debate, enabling some trustees to speak up when they hadn’t before, and leading to a commitment from the board to develop a plan around divestment moving forwards.

This was a huge achievement, not only for the group but for us as an organisation. This project has been such a success in getting all of our trustees on board with engaging directly with young people – even those who were nervous at the prospect now seem to fully understand why we should co-produce with young people who receive our grants and the benefits this can bring.

Throughout the year, we have done lots of other work to bring young people into our organisation and start sharing our decision making with them. For the first time ever, we had young people involved in recruiting new trustees to our board, and by the end of this week a young person will have been involved in recruiting half of our SMT!

Together with our young people, we have created space for young people to present at national conferences (where this wouldn’t normally have happened), opened up internship opportunities with companies in sectors with limited social mobility, and developed new projects and ideas to boost our fundraising and impact.

Alongside this, we have worked more closely with our referrers to review and improve our grant processes and explore the equalities impact of our grant making.

We are still in the early stages of our co-production journey in co-producing, but what a start it’s been! I’m so proud of what we have achieved this year and can’t wait to see where – in partnership with our young people and referrers – we can take this work in the next year and beyond.