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Dahlia Belloul, 25, Youth Cabinet Member

How long were you in the YC / UKYP, and what was your role?

Elected YC member: 2 years (representative for Worthing). I continued working with/alongside the YC for a further 2 years as a non-elected supporting member and the elections manager

How do you think the Youth Cabinet affected Youth Voice in West Sussex?

Although limited to a relatively specific group of young people (a particular type), the Youth Cabinet allowed them to be represented at multiple levels across West Sussex, the UK and even Europe. It gave young people the opportunity to express their views, and consider projects that would help their peers in their areas, to people who could actually launch real-life projects with a real impact.

What was your favourite piece of work/project in the Youth Cabinet?

I worked for the Youth Cabinet as the Elections Manager (2008-2009) which was by far my favourite project. I made it my personal mission to try and encourage more people to be involved, and to spread awareness of the Youth Cabinet. This wasn’t a project within the Youth Cabinet as such, but was definitely my favourite part of working alongside it. I was very proud to see the results at the end, and pleased to see so many young people engaged.

What opportunities did Youth Cabinet open up for you? What were they?

It opened up a range of international opportunities for me. Thanks to the Youth Cabinet, I was able to involve myself in the Assembly of European Regions Youth Regional Network and travel to multiple European countries representing the UK and ensuring the European projects would also benefit local young people.

How did being in the Youth Cabinet help your personal development?

I always say that it was my time in the Youth Cabinet, alongside the adults and young people there that helped me develop into who I am now. I don’t feel that the support I had within my own home environment was able to contribute to my current status anywhere near as much as the Youth Cabinet did. The Youth Cabinet allowed me to develop my public speaking skills enormously, helped me with management, training, pastoral and organisational skills. All of these skills have proved incredibly useful in my professional life.

What is your favourite memory of Youth Cabinet?

One of my favourite memories was a trip to Brussels (probably 2005/2006) where a group of us delivered a presentation (by role play) about the impact of bullying on young people. It was an amazing experience for me, the whole trip was brilliant and we met so many interesting people and learned so many things about the different issues in different countries as well as all the concerns we had in common.

What are you up to now?

I currently work for Thomson Reuters as a conference producer. I research, build and develop conferences for high-level in-house (business/industry) lawyers. I have recently been offered a graduate scheme role as a business analyst (trainee management consultant) at international technology consultancy firm – Accenture.

Is there anything else you would like to say about Youth Voice in this country, or about the Youth Cabinet?

It’s important that the Youth Cabinet doesn’t stop. Young people in West Sussex need to be encouraged to use it as a platform to both develop themselves (and their skills), and also to help develop the lives of young people all over the county. In the same way that young people might know about the local coffee shop – or the best place to go to the cinema – they should also know about the Youth Cabinet and the different ways they can be involved. The Youth Cabinet needs to ride the wave of technology developments to increase engagement with young people and make it a stronghold of youth voice.

Find out more about the West Sussex Youth Cabinet.

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