A Year of Youth Cabinet
This year has been a very different one for The Youth Cabinet. But, I think it’s safe to say that despite these unprecedented times and only having met each other twice in person, we have done so well.
We started our term in March 2020 and met each other during the training weekend. This is when we learnt about what our roles would consist of, what campaigns we would do and finally selecting key roles of the Youth Cabinet. Such as our chair, Daisy Watson and vice chair, Holly Thompson.
Then, when everything moved online, we started our COVID campaign. This was to encourage young people to stay home. We did this by producing 2 months worth of content for our social media accounts. Such as quizzes, videos and ideas with things to do. This was a huge success, gaining lots views and likes and some good feedback too!
During the summer months we also had meetings with West Sussex County Councillors – to learn about their roles and how we could work with them. This really gave us an insight to their jobs as well as ideas on who to go to for certain events and campaigns. This also let us create a stronger bond between the cabinet and the youth cabinet and increase communication.
In June and July, we started work for our main campaigns. The Environment lead by Holly Thompson, Racial Inequality lead by Iffat Rahman and Mental Health lead by Rishi Parekh.
The Environment campaign had lots of ideas but one main one was a Beach Clean Up. This was set to take place in September which was unfortunately postponed and in hopes to do it in April of 2021.
Social Media was a huge factor this year. The Racial Inequality team spent a few weeks educating young people on other major religions in the UK. Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam. Teaching people about the traditions, main beliefs and other important factors of these religions to encourage people to be more accepting and aware.
In September the Youth Cabinet did a workshop to be more gamble aware as well as working with the new Mental Health Service in proving images about what emotional wellbeing meant to us. This was also the month where the Racial Inequality campaign started using our social media platform to educate young people about religions of people that live in our society. Posts about Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Judaism.
October was the month the Racial Inequality campaign had their main event, 3 seminars over the course of 3 days. Black History, Religion and Culture and Racial Inequality. We had different speakers for each day to talk about their stories. People from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages and careers. From poets to councillors to even some of our young people in the Youth Cabinet. This was hosted by Iffat who also ran a Q and A segment with each speaker from audience questions.
These first hand experiences were encouraged to shed light on the issues on racism.
The Webinars were hugely successful, all three are now on YouTube and also have been sent to schools to be included in the PSHE curriculum in West Sussex to bring more awareness and to educate young people on the issues of racism in our communities. You can access them here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtO-nq9zNFsQFQIssMGBjK8R0g8SNaDFi
Our Mental Health campaign have done some amazing work, bringing out social media posts to encourage positive thinking and bring awareness to the issues of mental health to reduce the stigma. Showing our audience that it isn’t something you should be ashamed of. Mental health really has been a struggle with lockdowns, going back to school after a long break and everything in between. Rishi is also planning on doing a webinar that is to be planned for the next year.
Make Your Mark was in November where young people of the UK get to vote on issues that matter most to them. West Sussex came 1st in the country for the most votes in the country. Issues that matter most to young people were:
- Free Universities
- Support our Mental Health (continuation of our Mental Health Campaign)
- Domestic Violence
These campaigns will start planning from January 2021. You can view the results here: https://www.byc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/2020-Make-Your-Mark-Results-with-Infographics.pdf
We have also been working really closely with Sussex Police and West Sussex County Council to produce informative and eye-catching posters to bring awareness to the issues surrounding Knife Crime in our campaign “Putting an End to Knife Crime”. Successfully, we have gotten them approved and they will be sent out to schools in January to be displayed. You can view the blog written about these here.
Some of our members also underwent an interview training course and since then have been invited to interview people for important roles such as Executive Director of West Sussex County Council, Safeguarding Leads and many more.
Consultation work with Sussex Police, Housing, Safeguarding and Children’s First was done, with the addition of some youth voices from our team. This is another step forward to getting young people’s voices heard in places where decisions get made. These have been ongoing meetings and we truly feel our voices are being heard.
The 19th of November was the Youth Cabinet’s Annual debate – biggest attendance to a debate with 77 people, held on zoom. The topic was on Racial Inequality and as a result has opened up discussions for future meetings. We had really intriguing statements from three of our members, Iffat Rahman, Anah Zakeer and Alisha Mafaas. There will also be a review for the debate on the 6th of January 2021 with some members of the Cabinet and the Youth Cabinet.
2020 has been a year with lots and lots of curves. Despite the circumstances, the Youth Cabinet have pushed forward and made so much happen! We cannot wait to do more campaigns, work and use our voices in the coming year to make more things happen.
Follow this blog site to be updated on campaigns and the works of the Youth Cabinet too!
Stay safe and have a happy New Year.
Written by Iffat Rahman
DMYP for Crawley and East Grinstead and Communications Officer
Categories: Youth Cabinet