The Chair invited the Children’s and Young People’s Co-ordinator to make her presentation to the Committee which highlighted the following:
· Year of Youth is dedicated to young people between the ages of 12 – 24
· Highlighting the positive contribution that young people were making to the community
· Key themes identified were; promotion of positive health and wellbeing, engagement and participation of young people
· Highlights included; Marketing and Events Youth Panel, PEACE IV Youth Council Steering Group, Couch to 5K and Colour Run
· Over £150k of funding awarded and administered through the Acorn Project with young people making the funding decisions
· The Equine Cross Community Programme helped develop the life skills of young people, build capacity of young people in communication, listening and team building and gave young people a sense of self-esteem and to respect and trust others
· Many upcoming events to take place throughout the year such as; Government Ambassadors Programme, Leadership Programme, Emotional Wellbeing, Art Programmes and Unicef Child Friendly Cities Programme.
The Children and Young People’s Co-ordinator then asked three representatives from the Youth 19 Project; Magali, Tiegan and Matthew to give a brief update on the experiences to Members.
Magali described that she had joined the steering group after the Local Democracy Week event held in 2018 as she wanted to get a grasp on processes within Council, in particular the decision making process. She stated that during her experience in Youth 19 she has met other young people who were passionate about making change happen within the community. She stated that through attending events and being given extensive training in areas such as learning to deal with prejudice, communication and public speaking, has made her become more confident and also being presented with opportunities such as speaking at a recent Unicef event.
Continuing, she described how the PEACE IV steering group had brought people together from different backgrounds and with different opinions. However they have learned to communicate, compromise and work together as a team whilst learning to respect and value each other’s opinions.
Matthew then described that he applied to become a member of the grant panel on the Change Something Fund as he thought it would be a great opportunity to change the negative outlook that some adults had of young people. He stated that he had gained valuable experience such as developing media, communication and presentation skills. He stated that the panel had received a range of applications from across the Council area focusing on areas such as environment, education and mental health and wellbeing. He further stated that he had learned about the difficulties in making funding decisions whilst maintaining the budget of the fund as applications had to meet a specific criteria with the most crucial point was that they had to be youth led. He added that the experience of working in the Change Something Fund had shown him that young people in society are engaged and want to make a difference within their communities when the appropriate support was provided.
Tiegan then informed Members how she became a member of the marketing and events steering group at the Rewire Festival. She stated that the festival was a flagship event for Youth 19 were young people between the ages of 12 and 24 could participate in hundreds of events held throughout the City and District over a two week period. She described how taking part in the event had encouraged her to take part in things she never thought she could accomplish and that her interpersonal skills had greatly developed. She stated that she has made new friends and had also gained new opportunities. She expressed her thanks to the organisers of the Youth 19 programme and all their hard work as it has made her a better person.
The Chair thanked the Children and Young People’s Co-ordinator for the comprehensive overview and also from the 3 youth representatives for their updates. He then invited comments from Members.
Councillor Hunter thanked the representatives for their presentation. She stated that she had attended events such the Food and Mood workshop in Strabane Youth Centre and the Equine Cross-Community Programme. She described them as fantastic initiatives as they had dealt with issues such as mental health, body image and online bullying. She stated that the events gave young people the opportunity to be open and honest about their emotional wellbeing and mental health. She then enquired if any of the programmes had been delivered in a school setting.
In response, the Children and Young People’s Co-ordinator stated that the programme could not be delivered during school time. However school visits had been organised to encourage young people to participate in programmes outside of school hours.
Councillor Mellon thanked the 3 youth representatives for their feedback on the impact the programme has made for them. She enquired if there had been any inclusion of, or interaction with, community groups onto the Youth 19 programme. She commended the young people for their leadership and decision making throughout the successful programme.
In response, the Children and Young People’s Co-ordinator stated that the public and community were kept up to date via social media and the Youth 19 website. She stated that youth groups and organisations had brought young people to participate in the Rewire event and free tickets had also be allocated to youth groups to attend some events such as the Greatest Showman. She advised that meetings had taken place with community groups and that youth strategy groups within the Neighbourhood Renewal Partnerships had also come together. She noted that 72 community organisations had also received funding through grant applications within the programme.
Councillor Mellon thanked the Children and Young People’s Co-ordinator for her response. However she stated that youth providers had a planning structure for the year ahead, particularly during the summer months. She asked that community groups were considered during the planning process of such projects as they had been keen to participate.
Councillor Donnelly stated that a lot of good work was happening within those valuable projects particularly dealing with difficult issues and that the programme would benefit them. He asked if there had been any plans to include youths who had felt marginalised or alienated with their communities.
In response, the Children and Young People’s Co-ordinator stated that there were health and wellbeing programmes particularly aimed at marginalised young people throughout the City and District.