The term “Youth Voice” is the way in which Young People are able to share their interests, needs, and perspectives in decisions that affect their learning and lives. Young People can express their voice in a variety of ways and through different methods. Young people being able to express their voice relies on them having a platform to do this as well as being listened to, leading to empowerment, a sense of belonging and feeling valued.
A youth forum is run and developed by young people for young people. Youth forums exist to represent the views of young people, giving them the opportunity to be heard on their ideas, opinions and needs. This creates a space where young people can discuss issues, engage with decision makers such as youth workers, our governance board and staff of other organisations, and contribute to improving and developing services for young people especially our own - Youth First.
Local Youth Forum meetings happen monthly or quarterly at each of our youth clubs and adventure playgrounds. These sessions are made up of 5-10 local young people each of whom are regular users of the service.
This is the platform where young people can make suggestions, changes and keep staff aware of what they feel are the needs for young people in their own locality. They can bring up any matters that they feel need to be discussed, for example accessing some additional support when they come to the Adventure Playground or Youth Club. Most things that are mentioned in this forum can be ongoing ideas that get implemented but the suggestion of shorter term projects and activities can also be discussed.
Once a term, usually during the half-term break, we host a Borough-wide Youth Forum meeting made up of young people who attend our provision across the Borough as well as the members of individual Local Youth Forums. During this meeting we focus on a relevant and topical issue, decided by young people, including input from partners. Recent topics have included social media, knife crime, health relationships and fundraising.
Our first ever borough-wide Youth Forum trip in 2018 took us to "Locked in a Room" where the young people had the opportunity to have fun together and be rewarded for their important contributions.
Here's what some of our Staff have to say about the Youth Forum...
- “An opportunity to let young people know what’s happening”
- “Youth Forums give young people a sense of belonging, challenges them to problem solve”
- “Allows YP to develop skills and get involved in things they can do later in life”
- “Be included and be a voice for YP that may not attend Youth Provision”
- “Setting targets, achieving goals”
- “Take ownership/ Give back to their community”
Quotes taken from Youth Forum Staff meeting 18th January 2018
At the Boroughwide you can expect to take part in activities, talk to specialist organisations and share ideas, knowledge and opinions with other young people. You will also hear about organisation updates, opportunities and other projects in the Borough.
Why Join a Youth Forum?
- Gain/Increase confidence
- Learn new skills
- Make a difference
- Build new relationships
- Add it to your CV/college applications/UCAS
- Be empowered and take a lead in decision making
- See your ideas come to life
- Earn rewards
- Because it's fun!
How to join
- Speak to a member of the team at your local youth club or adventure playground to sign up! (remember spaces are limited)
- Look out for the Youth Forum meeting poster to know when the next meeting is taking place
Youth Participation & Engagement Manager
Mobile: 07875 094 551