Well - how great was our Youth Clubs Young Volunteers residential at Liddington? I'll tell you - it was fabulous! The team here, augmented by Dan from Reach Youth and Mark from Mendip YMCA, joined 45 young people from clubs across Somerset to do workshops, have fun and (in one young person's case) eat far too many bananas.
We met on Friday night and all managed to survive until tea time Sunday. Workshops covered everything from communication, to community projects to planning and evaluation, with lots of time for groups to share their learning and plan for the future. We also found time for a few outdoor activties. All the young people were keen, enthusiastic and very friendly. I can honestly say I've never taken away such a well behaved group before. The group presentations at the end were amazing.
Keep an eye on the 'Young Volunteers' section of the website for the report, as well as downloads of all the workshops - so that anyone use them if they like - the young people thought they were great.
I'd like to thank everyone who came along - it was a wonderful weekend.Kirstie Brown Youth and Community Officer
There is a lot of talk in the news currently about the number of young people who are not exercising their right to vote. It has been suggested that changes to the way people register to vote have meant that young people, and in particular students, have 'droped off the register'. With a general election taking place in May, this is now a really important issue to address.
Darren Hughes, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:
"While it was sensible to move on from the Victorian-era system of household registration, there have been real concerns about making the switch so close to an election. It's now the duty of everyone concerned, including central government, local authorities, the voluntary sector and all the political parties, to find those missing millions and make sure they don't lose out on their most basic civic right."
A number of organisations operate campaigns to encourage young voters - visit the links below to find out more about some of them...
Sky News - Stand Up and Be Counted
UK Youth Parliament - are you ready?
Angela, Kate and I are packed and ready to go on the UK Youth Parliament Residential this afternoon - a weekend full of fun activities and brilliant workshops, including presentation skills, research skills, effective campaigning, media training and manifesto writing! I only hope the young people (all twenty of them) are ready for it and remember their warm clothing! I think we'll all be very tired come Sunday evening...Kirstie Brown Youth and Community Officer
The Youth and Community Team were shortlisted for a staff award in the 'Unsung heroes Childrens Services' category and Angela and Jeff went along to the Awards Ceremony on 22 January to find out if we'd won. We didn't win - the award went to Angie Jackson, manager of the Fostering East Team who manages a large team split across 2 offices. Angie goes the extra mile and use her skills to appropriately undertake difficult tasks which many would say was not their role. Well done Angie! We were however, highly commended for all our work with communities - effectively coming joint second with the Safeguarding Children Team. We've got a very nice framed certificate!
Kirstie Brown Youth and Community Officer
YOT / TYS listens to young people
I'm off to Dillington tomorrow to deliver a days training to YOT / TYS staff. YOT / TYS are improving their ability to listen to the voice of the young people who use their service by setting up Voice Groups across the county. Young people will have opportunities to start their own projects, feedback to decision makers about the service they receive and help YOY / TYS improve what they do with young people. If you want to know more, have a chat with Wendy Jenner on 01458 440280.
If you are an organisation who'd like to improve the waysit hears young people's views, we may be able to help with free advice and bespoke training. Give me a ring for a chat.Kirstie Brown Youth and Community Officer 01823 349853
We have our final list of young people attending the UK Youth Parliament Residential. All of the MYP and Deputies elect are going as well as lots of members of the Advisory Group. Unfortuately, the date didn't suit everyone (exams and family stuff) but we still have 19 young people coming along!
We're going to Liddington near Swindon for a weekend of fun, workshops and manifesto planning. The last one we did was in October 2013 and was the best residential Kate and I had ever worked on - so this one has a lot to live up to! Kate, Angela and I will be running the weekend, with Jeff dropping in to do night duty. So... We're expecting a great weekend and we'll blog about how it went when we get back.
Huzzah for the UK Youth Parliament!Kirstie Brown Youth and Community Officer 01823 349853
Cat King, Member of the Youth Parliament for South Somerset, has produced an excellent resource aimed at helping young people to have better relationships. Called 'Healthy Relationships', this book contains six sessions for young people of all ages and includes posters, links to YouTube films, games and other activities. Cat worked with Fixers UK to produce this very professional resource, suitable for use in schools, colleges and youth clubs.
The best news of all is that we have free copies of this resource to give away! Give me a ring or drop me an email via the 'contact' part of the website and we'll put one in the post to you.Kirstie Brown Youth and Community Officer 01823 349853
Mendip YMCA Volunteer Training
This Saturday coming (17th January) I am off to Mendip YMCA in Wells to deliver an 'Introduction to Youth Work' training day for their new youth work volunteers. Mendip YMCA runs youth clubs in Frome, Coleford, Shepton Mallet, Street and Glastonbury. All volunteers are support by Glenda Collier (their Volunteer Co-oridnator) and Mark Willcox (their Youth and Community Development Manager). Its a great organisation to volunteer for, with lots of opportunities across their wide range of work with young people. If you're interested in volunteering for Mendip YMCA, give Glenda a ring on 01749 679553.Kirstie Brown Youth and Community Officer 01823 349853
UK Youth Parliament Meeting
I spent yesterday with the Somerset UK Youth Parliament Advisory Group at their December meeting. The young people had a busy day following up on-going work and activities and assessing lots of Youth Bank grant applications.
During the afternoon Ellen Collard (MYP for Taunton Deane and West Somerset) carried out an activity with the rest of the group to support her Extended Project Qualification. For her project, Ellen is looking at the Liverpool Care Pathway and the impact of media coverage on the perception of it. Ellen used two different articles about the Care Pathway; one very factual and the other more sensationalised and emotive to gauge the groups perception of the topic. Ellen particularly wanted to look at this topic with a group of young people as it was likely that they would not have heard of the Liverpool Care Pathway and would therefore not have existing opinions on the topic.
Ellen conducted the activity brilliantly, she was clear about what would happen and what was required from participants. Ellen showed great skill in adapting the way she worked and how the activity was formatted as she went along to get the most from the activity.
I can't wait to hear more from Ellen about how her finished project turns out.Angela Derry
Project Support Officer - Youth & Community
D of E Coordinator
This week we are very happy to welcome Helen Watkins back into the team. Helen previously worked as D of E Coordinator for a number of years and was an extremely popular and valued member of the team so we are all delighted that we have managed to tempt her back into the fold!
Helen arrived to find celebratory balloons decorating her office space...but probably didn't realise that she would be expected to take them home with her. Welcome back Helen.