An inclusive youth group is where a young person will feel welcome, secure and comfortable and that they can celebrate their identity especially those aspects of their identity that make them different from others such as their culture or ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, gender, health including mental health, education, parental status, involvement in juvenile justice etc.
You will know you are an inclusive space if the membership of the group reflects the diverse make up of your community. If your community is very diverse your group should reflect that. (For example 7.5% of the population is LGBT – are you aware of having LGBT young people in your group, or 10% of us have a disability – do you have 10% with a disability in your group? Etc) However, it is not a numbers issue, or about filling a quota. It is about being an inclusive space and reaching out to harder to reach young people. Together these actions should increase inclusion but it is the actions that are the important data – not the numbers. The numbers are only indicative of successful action.
If your community is not very diverse your group can still do exchanges and activities and promote an open attitude. One way of knowing you are an inclusive space if it is easy for diverse young people to join in and participate fully, if cliques are not formed, and if exchanges with other groups are common. Exchanges can be with neighbouring areas, or with specialist groups in your county or international exchanges. Your space is also inclusive if you do awareness raising and anti-discrimination programmes and activities.
For more detailed ways of making your youth space inclusive go to Access All Areas diversity toolkit