How long were you in the YC / UKYP, and what was your role?
I was part of YC/UKYP from I think March 2010 until September 2013. This was as a Youth Cabinet Member for Crawley South East, then Deputy Member of Youth Parliament for Crawley & East Grinstead, then Member of Youth Parliament for Crawley & East Grinstead, and finally Youth Cabinet Member for Crawley South East.
How do you think the Youth Cabinet affected Youth Voice in West Sussex?
I think it allowed the chance for young people’s voices to actually be heard, some seriously significant changewas brought around from Youth Cab and Youth Parliament in my time there alone, and I know before and after was no different. We were no longer passive members of society, we were given a platform to give the views of our constituents to people who could really make a difference.
What was your favourite piece of work/project in the Youth Cabinet?
I am going with the obvious for me, but Free Your Mind UK. The brainchild that came from a car journey back from a Youth Parliament meeting, it quickly morphed into something great that I am proud to say is still going today.
What opportunities did Youth Cabinet open up for you? What were they?
Without Youth Cabinet I wouldn’t be in the position I am now. I had the chance to get involved in communications work, gain a stronger understanding of mental health work, travel across the country (and even Europe at one point), and meet some fantastic people I still have connections with now.
How did being in the Youth Cabinet help your personal development?
I don’t think I can express just what a different person I am after joining Youth Cab!
For starters, I went into the first elections as a teenage girl, and a few years later, I left my last meeting as an adult male. I got the chance to explore myself within everything happening and due to the wonderful support that in particular came from Pandora Ellis I wouldn’t be here today.
I was able to come to terms with my own ill mental health, seeking help when I desperately needed it. I also had the chance to work with the Voice and Engagement Team as a member of staff for a year before going to university. I went off to uni and now I am part way through a year out, working full time!
What is your favourite memory of Youth Cabinet?
I don’t think I can pinpoint an exact moment, but after so many years of bullying and feeling like I didn’t belong, I loved how I finally felt part of something. The friends I made may not all still be here with me but I had some amazing memories with them.
What are you up to now?
I am now on a gap from university and working as a domiciliary care worker full time!
Is there anything else you would like to say about Youth Voice in this country, or about the Youth Cabinet?
Just how amazing it is. I loved my time being involved and always want to stay in the loop, where possible, and help encourage future generations to stay involved!