A new youth voice journey

Back in April, I was selected to be one of the members of the UK Youth Voice National Board, for my region, after an application process.

Since then, I have become involved in the activities of the charity, UK Youth, and am developing my skills, so I can make sure that I can truly represent the people who live in my region (East of England).

What is UK Youth Voice?

It is the national youth board that shapes the services of UK Youth, the leading youth charity in the UK at present. It is made up of a collection of young people from different backgrounds aged 16-25 from all regions in the UK, the Channel Islands and a representative from the Avon Tyrell activity centre.

What do we do?

The main thing we do is to represent both UK Youth and young people on a national level at our meetings and other events across the year. We also shape the services of UK Youth, influence decision makers by campaigning about issues young people care about (UK Youth Voice Manifesto- Dear Prime Minister) and help with fundraising, to make sure the programmes the charity run, can still go ahead.

Dear Prime Minister June 2017

A few weeks back, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to London and hand deliver the UK Youth Voice manifesto to Number 10 Downing Street. Since this day, we have received a response which says that the manifesto has been passed onto the relevant departments, so hopefully we will receive a response in due course.

The 5 key calls in this document are:

  1. Make youth services a priority public service
  2. Enable every young person to take an active role in democracy
  3. Provide accessible, high quality education for all young people
  4. End discrimination, prejudice and hate crime towards young people
  5. Enable future generations to live in a clean, safe and sustainable environment

If you’d like to read to the full manifesto, you can do so here.

UK Youth Voice Meeting July 2017

This was the real start to my journey as a member of UK Youth Voice, as I met most of the representatives for the year ahead. It was lovely to meet some of the older members of the group, to hear about their experiences so far and some tips on getting the most out of the term.

As per usual in these kind of events, it started with a quick icebreaker, then followed by achievements of the organisation and a chance to ask questions to the Director of Policy and Partnerships at UK Youth, Matt Lent.

After lunch on the Saturday, we had some training on intersectionality, privilege and equality, which proved to have some quality debate and discussion over what these terms meant to different people. This was led by Lee-Anne Lawrance, they are an activist and facilitator who currently focuses on political reform, human rights issues and the environment. What an excellent way to kick off communication between us all! I’d like to thank Lee-Anne, for coming to meet us to provide us an insight into a range of different topics, which are commonly talked about together, yet they can be very different terms from each other.

Later, we had a meal at Pizza Express and shared our combined love for food! After this, we had a great quiz by Mark Magee; one of the representatives for the nation of Scotland, which was enjoyed by all! I’m sure we’ll see more of this during the year!

On the Sunday, we kicked off with some team building exercises, so we could get to know each other better and then we made our way to Stepney Bank Stables, which is part of NE Youth; a member of UK Youth. This experience allowed us to look at how local provisions can help young people develop a wide range of skills e.g. Food Nation and workshops about sexual and mental health. This showed us how organisations, like Stepney Bank Stables, fit into the national picture. We were given a tour and it allowed us to see, and talk to young people who ride there and those who volunteer their time to look after the horses.

Next, we brainstormed ideas of how we could start regional campaigns and get our local organisations involved. More to follow about this.

It was a fantastic weekend (led by the fab Hannah and Kayleigh) and now I’m ready to showcase the amazing work UK Youth and its partners do on a daily basis!

If after reading this you’d like to find out more about the charity UK Youth, you can take a look at their website here.

Thank you for reading 😊

@FoxyEmily13 on Twitter

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