I’m back with another installment in my youth voice journey! I hope you enjoy reading about my time as a UK Youth Voice representative for the East of England 🙂
In case you haven’t heard about Voice yet, check out my post about A New Youth Voice Journey and then you’ll be up to date to read this one.
As I started to write this post I realised I had never written about our Youth Voice weekend in Birmingham in November. So I’d just like to touch on what we did as some of it follows on to the residential we recently had in Woking.
On my second UK Youth Voice Residential in Birmingham we:
- touched on Democracy in the UK- followed by a Hackathon by Shoutout UK.
- had the Head of Public Affairs from WWF come to talk to us about their campaigns at the moment.
- had some public speaking and debating training by Hannah at UK Youth, which was absolutely fab and very funny!
- had a lovely meal all together as a group across the road from our venue.
- had a quiz lead by Maya and Brendan.
- we had an update on the things UK Youth is doing.
- a phone call with the Lord Mayor of London helping him with his Social Media Strategy- this led to us going to Mansion House on the 15th December to have lunch with him and talk to him further about our ideas.
- the evaluation consisted of giving compliments to other members of the group which I thought was really sweet!
The latest residential was held on 24th and 25th February at the WWF UK Centre in Woking – this was the weekend before I went on a trip to Berlin with university! It was lovely to get together with like-minded people across the UK to learn more about a variety of topics and organisations. It was my third residential with other members of Voice and it was a weekend filled with training and fun!
I left on Friday night from Leicester, making my way to Woking by train and was joined by some others later on that evening and we had a bit of a catch up since the last meeting which was lovely! Surprisingly, I was the first person of those travelling up on Friday to arrive, once most of us were here we grabbed some food and then sat in the bar area to chat some more before we up to our rooms.
On Saturday morning, we had breakfast in the hotel, which was all you could eat so I had a cooked breakfast: so think toast, bacon, sausages, beans, mushrooms, hash browns etc. I had to make the most of it as we had a full day ahead and I don’t get much of an opportunity to make this kind of breakfast whilst at uni!
Soon after, it was time to head over to the WWF Living Planet Centre- a visitor centre and headquarters for WWF UK and a few employees of WWF International- to meet all the other Voice members who had arrived that morning. It was great to see everyone again since a few months ago! We started up pretty swiftly and an introduction and icebreakers were delivered by Hannah and Kayleigh. This was followed by an excellent workshop by Joe Porter, a Stonewall Young Campaigner and a Voice member for the West Midlands, on LGBT History Month and the work he had been doing. It was insightful as it allowed us to reflect on how much we knew about LGBT issues and LGBT celebrities. Joe also baked a delicious cake in order to raise money for Stonewall too.
After this, we made our way to town to grab some lunch in Caffe Nero. I’ll be honest I don’t usually have toasties, cos I’m sceptical to whether they’ll have nuts or mayo in, but I had a Ham and Cheese one and it was quite nice.
Back in the WWF centre, we have a tour around the building. For those of you who don’t know, in the middle of their office, they have 3 trees, one of which was planted by Sir David Attenborough in 2013- when the centre officially opened. After an interesting guide, we had a session by those at the Wildlife Trust and this was mainly consulting us on their campaign #OurBrightFuture, which is a campaign getting people involved with the environment with a range of different initiatives. We brainstormed ideas and passed them on to the Wildlife Trust to help them get more young people engaged in their work.
Later on, we took a look at the applications for the Voice board this year and interviewed these people to find out a bit more about them. This was quite an exciting thing to do and I would love to do it again if the opportunity arises. I’m excited to meet the new representative for the Eastern region and learn more about their experiences as a young person. An hour or so after, we made our way to the Big Apple for Pizza and Lazer Quest. Although the pizza wasn’t great, the Lazer Quest made up for it.
It was soon Sunday Morning – the second and final full day of the Voice weekend! A lovely breakfast once again leads to a good start to the day. We first had some team building activities and the one by Leto was particularly funny and enjoyed by all!
Then in groups, we thought about what we’d like in a Voice alumni group, as people will be leaving at our next residential in April 😥 This was beneficial for all to envision what UK Youth could do to help us in the future when we leave our positions on the UK Youth Voice Board. Moving on, we had lunch- sandwiches, wraps, crisps, fruit, cake and then talked about planning a workshop at the next meeting or in the future. I can’t wait to see what people will do, be it an icebreaker or an information session!
Subsequently, we reflected on the weekend we’d had and the sessions which were delivered throughout and then made our way through the town towards the station to catch our trains!
I’d just like to say thank you to everyone for a fantastic weekend away from university! It was well worth it and I can’t wait to go on the next residential at the end of April.
Thank you for reading 😊
Until next time,
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.