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Eight months of dedicated and focused youth participation work came to fruition with the South West Youth Participation Conference on Wednesday 30th October in the Guildhall Bath. An event designed and delivered by Young People, from conception to delivery.

Back in February this year, at a residential in Bath, 5 youth participation groups (16 young people) came together to share skills and knowledge with 3 leading organisation in events management, they were the Theatre Royal, Holburne Museum and Bath and North East Somerset’s Heritage Rooms.

At this residential the groups learned all they needed to know about managing and running events. On the last day of the residential they then all agreed the kind of event they would produce and allocated each participation group with tasks and areas of responsibility. From then on the groups then met on a weekly basis setting tasks and meeting deadlines, arranging meetings with BANES and Jamie Oliver’s Italian to negotiate and agree resources, costs and contracts. For 8 months the groups worked solidly on designing marketing materials, booking forms and conference materials and promoting the event.

Also two young people, the conference project coordinators, submitted an O2 Think Bigger funding application to support the event. The Project coordinators had to attend a day’s training with O2 in Birmingham and produce a substantial project plan and budget which they presented to O2 in order to secure the funding. The project coordinators were successful in achieving this and managed to complete all of their O2 milestones. The two project coordinators were then responsible for managing the spend of £2500 funding from O2.

The events focus was around Youth Participation, what and how this is happening in the South West. The day was to be filled with Youth Participation workshops, inviting 12 organisations and individuals both young people and adults to come and deliver a workshop demonstrating their Youth Participation work. The aim was to offer young people a platform to deliver their own workshops to a mixed audience of young people and adults that all works or have links with Youth Participation.

The event opened with the Bristol Old Vic, Made in Bristol, a stage performance devised by the group, specifically for the event. The performance was a very powerful and thought provoking piece of work that sparked the minds and imaginations of the conference delegation.

The event then proceeded with 6 organisations delivering workshops in the morning, these workshops ranged from:

  • Bath & North East Somerset – Leaving Care Council, a workshop called “In care in school” delivered by young people, this gave workshop participants an insight into the experiences of young people in care.
  • Health Watch & Young People Friendly Services did a workshop called Healthy Youth Participation, An interactive workshop delivered by adult workers,that looks at how young people can influence health and social care services.
  • Somerset County - UK Youth Parliament a workshop called “UKYP In Somerset – Making things better since 2001” a workshop delivered by young people, raising Awareness of UKYPAG In Somerset and young people having Your Say!
  • Somerset Rural Youth Project, workshop called “Participation, Young People Changing the World” Delivered by a young person and adult worker, the workshop explored the difference that young people can make through their participation.
  • DAFBY the Youth Participation Service in BANES, ran a workshop on Mental Health. The workshop showcased the workshop delivery skills developed by Hazel (a young person) as a result of attending DAFBY. Her interests lie in raising awareness about mental health issues for young people.

  • Bella Glanville who is a young person who set up her own Love-kidz Foundation, her workshop was called “Anti-Bullying and Self Esteem”, She inspired people to live their lives to the fullest, achieving the highest self esteem possible and to know how to conquer bullying.

A fantastic lunch was provided by Jamie Oliver’s Italian at Bath and Nathanael Williams also launched his short film that he made for his Gold Arts Award. The film was played twice and the audience were asked for feedback. Lunch was then followed by a further 5 workshops in the afternoon, these were:

  • Campaign for National Parks ran a workshop called Young People & National Parks, this was delivered by an adult worker and a young person. An Interactive workshop looking at what National Parks are already doing to appeal to young people, what they are doing well and what they are doing less well.
  • Young Devon delivered a workshop called Participation in Action, the workshop was delivered by young people that demonstrated all the different training packages offered to young people, including Passport to Participation, Young Interview Panellist, Young Assessor and Young Commissioner.
  • Houses of Parliament, adult worker, delivered a workshop called Parliament and You: be involved, engaged and empowered. This workshop gave an introduction to how Parliament works and looked at why and what goes on and how it affects everyone.
  • Bristol Old Vic Theatre – Made in Bristol delivered a workshop called Telling stories without words. This was delivered by the company director and Young People. This workshop aims to give participants a practical experience of simple physical instructions that can lead to generating stories that are non verbal.
  • Regional Youth Work Unit at Learning South West delivered a workshop called Youth Voice Vehicle Checklist, delivered by an adult member of staff, The workshop explained the model of the Youth Voice Vehicle Checklist and invited participants to rate their own mechanism for young people’s voice and influence.

The event was then brought to a summary and close by David Clitheroe, thanking all the Young People, organisations, sponsors and funders for all their contributions for making the day such a success.

Project Worker - James Brookes

Mobile / Text  07974 575603

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Volunteering Team office, SRYP, Unit 2, Suprema Estate,

Edington, Bridgwater, TA7 9LF

telephone 01278 722100