A Network of Regional Youth Work Units, in England, collaborating across regions to promote good youth work and young people’s voices.
UK Youth Parliament
Sixty Members of UK Youth Parliament from the South West attended a regional residential last weekend (15-17 March 2013) to plan their campaigns, learn about their role as a member of UKYP, find out about e-safety and even had a fancy dress competition where they had to dress up as their favourite heritage hero.
The group of 11-18 year olds took some time to make Cornish pasties, travelled back in time to campaign and make banners surrounding votes for women, acted out the Cornish rebellion and even took part in a Ceilidh with music from a live authentic Cornish band. The activities took place in the Sands Hotel, Newquay and made for light relief from the challenges of planning local manifestos and completing action plans for the year ahead, to represent and give young people a voice in their local area.
Other residential activities included: ‘Everything you need to know about being a Member of Youth Parliament’, media training, ‘political jargon busting to understand words like big society, social change, and constituencies’, Staying safe online, and debated issues surrounding whether throughout history violent or peaceful protest had been more affective.
At the end of the weekend they even had time to create a Harlem Shake video!
Sounds Positive which is run by young people for young people and provides training on how to contact the media, help writing a press release to promote their local projects and support on writing articles where young people give their views on local or topical issues has been to Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly this month!
In Devon the young people have been writing articles for their monthly page called ‘Don’t Judge Us’ surrounding Harry Potter, pheasant shooting, majorette dancing, Hadrian’s wall, orphans in Sri Lanka and much much more. To see their full page check out the North Devon Journal or visit this is Devon on 4 April.
A democracy conference, held on the 22 March at Kingston Maurward college in Dorset, invited local town and parish councils and encouraged all decision makers to include young people within their local area. Sounds Positive ran a workshop surrounding communicating with young people through posters, face-to-face interactions and social media. The event went extremely well and towards the end all of councillors signed a pledge to include young people in decision making.
Despite foggy weather conditions a flight across the Atlantic Ocean landed Sounds Positive on St Mary’s Island in the Scilly Isles to deliver media training to 11 young people at the youth centre.
Throughout the day we explored local and national newspapers, interview techniques, wrote press releases and ended the day by creating a Scilly youth newsletter which was distributed around the islands. Andrew George MP stopped by for a chat with the young people about local politics and answered any questions that they had about the island that they lived on. A great day was had by all ending with a photo in the sun on the beach.
Young Writers Squad
The last session for the squad took place on Saturday 23 March and for the last eight weeks everyone involved exploring the art of journalism with the last meeting focusing on how to write the perfect article for a local newspaper. Tina Orr Monro a journalist from North Devon lead the group along with the Sounds Positive Project, coordinated by the Regional Youth Work Unit (RYWU) and the sessions included writing local, national and international news, film and book reviews, editorial, blogging and crime writing. The young writers all received certificates and will continue to write local news with the support of the RYWU.
SW Young Researchers Project
Last but by no means least March saw the commencement of the SW Young Researchers Projects. We have been able to attract 6 groups from across the region who will learn some peer research skills, gain some accredited recognition for them and celebrate their learning at a research residential in Cornwall in June. We are supporting the UK Youth Parliament’s 2013 campaign for a Curriculum for Life in order to produce some peer research and data in time for the Education Select Committee review in the Summer. So, really exciting times and the Taunton group have started by choosing to research on Finance Skills Education.
Have a good Easter everyone!
Regional Youth Work Unit, South West