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9th August 2018

Young people are getting their voices heard

OnSide’s Youth Voice is very much up and running with over 20 young people from across the Youth Zone network enjoying an action-packed residential in the Lake District.

The group will form what will be called ‘Voice for All’ which will represent over 40,000 young members from across the network. The residential was a chance for them to meet new people from across the network, learn new skills, build upon existing skills and come up with a Youth Voice proposal and plan for what they will look to deliver in their Youth Zones. The young people strongly believe that this group will be a chance for them to feedback into the Youth Zones on what they feel needs to improve for the benefit of young people as well as speak up on behalf of young people across the network. 

The aim of the Youth Voice group, pioneered by Future Youth Zone Chief Executive Gavin Evans, is for young people to represent their Youth Zones and come up with ideas which will help to voice what young people would like to see happen or change. The group share similar values in that it is important for young people to have their say in what goes on in Youth Zones across the country and how they can work together, to deliver and meet the needs of youth zones members.

The weekend consisted of a range of confidence and team building activities such as water sports, rope sports and group activities which enabled the group to participate in things they had never done before and work in teams to overcome obstacles as well as have fun. in their groups spent the day doing a range of water sport activities such as gorge walking, canoeing, kayaking and falling out of boats into the freezing cold water (just kidding) and sessions discussing important issues within their local areas and what they could do to help all of which helped them with confidence building and team work skills. 

In their designated groups, they were challenged to various activities which saw them discussing what issues they find to be most important in their local areas and how they can lead campaigns to help challenge the existing issues. A range of topics such as tackling mental health issues, disabilities, homelessness amongst young people and bullying etc. These were set activities which required working together in their groups. 

The weekend ended on a high note with young people excited to meet again for their October meeting, also having been tasked to share their issues raised out in their respective Youth Zones and arrange a vote, with the successful topic chosen to focus on as a campaign.

It was a fun weekend, especially because I got to hang out with my team, even though I only just met them, it was a nice bonding activity for us, just getting to know everyone and making new friends, which I really enjoyed.

Hamdi Khayre, Bolton Lads & Girls Club

The group also had the chance of putting themselves forward for the position of Chair and Vice Chair by sharing their manifesto around the Saturday evening camp fire and the rest of the group voting for who they wanted. The following morning saw Alex Smith-Slatton from London and Charlotte Pollard from The Hive, Wirral appointed as the new Chair and Vice Chair respectively for the Voice for All group.

The trip was amazing and a great opportunity to try new things and do things that I haven’t done before. It was also a good chance to meet new people from the North West.