Kelly Balmer, an ex UKYP Member tells us about what it was like being a member of West Sussex Youth Cabinet and UK Youth Parliament.
How long were you in the YC / UKYP, and what was your role?
I was a member of UK Youth Parliament for almost 4 years but started off in my school council in year 7.
How do you think the Youth Cabinet affected Youth Voice in West Sussex?
The Youth Cabinet has a massive influence over youth voice in West Sussex, not only does it represent every area in West Sussex with a wide range of young people, but it also has contacts with a wide range of decision makers.
What was your favourite piece of work/project in the Youth Cabinet?
I would say it was the Youth Voice Network, creating a project with other young people like the Youth Voice Network helped, not only raise awareness of Youth Voice but also develop event managing skills.
What opportunities did Youth Cabinet open up for you? What were they?
The opportunities Youth Cabinet opened up for me was the UK Youth Parliament which lead to an array of experiences, from speaking to a room of 700+ to meeting and discussing hot topics with my MPs. It also gave me the delightful experience of being nominated for the Rotary Clubs Young Person of the year award and coming in the top ten, as well as receiving their Young Achiever award.
How did being in the Youth Cabinet help your personal development?
Youth Cabinet and UK Youth Parliament has really built my confidence as a public speaker and in day to day life. As cliché as it sounds, the Kelly who stood for elections in year 8 wouldn’t even think of doing half of the things I have been lucky enough to achieve through the West Sussex Youth Voice Team.
What is your favourite memory of Youth Cabinet?
My favourite memory of the Youth Cabinet is joining it as it has opened up so many new doors for me.
What are you up to now?
Right now I’m a Procedures Group Member for the South East of the UK Youth Parliament. This role allows me to pass on my previous experiences to the new Members of Youth Parliament, alongside sitting my GCSEs.
Is there anything else you would like to say about Youth Voice in this country, or about the Youth Cabinet?
We are so lucky to have the youth voice system that we have in the UK, other countries would love to have this opportunity, so let us it to our strengths to influence the government on the bigger things that effect young people.